The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

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Social studies department video honors veterans

Photo from Wikipedia/ CC
On Nov. 10, 2016 the social studies will be honoring Veterans Day by showing a video recognizing veterans that are special to the people of LHS.

With Veterans Day quickly approaching, the social studies department has been working hard to make a video recognizing the veterans who are close to people at Libertyville High School.

“The veterans project is just a chance for me, for the department, for individuals, to one, share something they care about [that] is designated to someone who we are suppose to reflect upon on Veterans Day. If it’s Veterans Day and we are suppose to respect veterans, then let’s put a face on who we are actually honoring on this day,” explained the social studies department supervisor, Mr. Shawn McCusker.

The veteran project is a video that the social studies department is making with pictures that people from the Libertyville community have submitted; it will be shown on Nov. 10. The pictures are either the person who submitted it with a veteran or with a picture of a veteran.

This project is supposed to allow the community the opportunity to recognize specific veterans who they have a real connection with rather than just veterans in general.

LHS junior Emily Regan was the first student to submit a picture, of her with her grandfather, to the project.

“I think the project is awesome, and honoring the sacrifices that our veterans made for us and our nation is extremely important. I’m really glad that the social studies department is introducing it, because in my opinion, U.S. veterans deserve the utmost honor and recognition,” stated Regan in an email.

At LHS, there are several men who have served our country, including Mr. Shawn McCusker, Mr. Michael Cook, Mr. Scott Kust, Mr. Robert Uliks and Mr. Phillip “Rocky” Taormina.

Mr. McCusker was a member of the Illinois Army National Guard for six years. This is how he paid for college. In his family, being a part of the military is the normal thing to do. Many of his ancestors, including his father and grandfather, were part of the military. His grandfather flew a B-17 bomber in World War II and his father was injured many times in Vietnam.

“He [McCusker’s father] never complained and he refuses to take credit. I think a lot of soldiers are that way,” expressed Mr. McCusker.

Mr. Cook, an AP physics teacher, attended the University of Wisconsin Madison on a five-year scholarship in the ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps), double majoring in Electrical Engineering and Naval Science. He served four years of active duty and four years of selective reserve duty.  He was in two units, the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines Regiment out of Camp Pendleton in southern California, and the 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment out of Fort Sheridan in Lake County. While being a part of those units, he visited many places, including Iraq, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, Australia, Morocco and various locations throughout the U.S.

Mr. Cook likes to recognize his fellow Marines because he believes that he was just the one who came up with the plans and helped them if they were stuck, but they were the ones who actually carried out his plans.

“It was an honor and a pleasure. I loved playing in the dirt and being a part of the infantry,” said Mr. Cook in an email.

Mr. Uliks served in the United States Marine Corps, where he was stationed in Camp Pendleton, California, and he also did two tours overseas, which each lasted 6-8 months. During this time, he visited about 10 different countries.

“It was an honor and a privilege to serve my country. It is definitely challenging but rewarding. You gain a new outlook for everything in life as well as a sense of duty and respect that most people don’t understand,” expressed Officer Uliks in an email.

Mr. Uliks explained that most veterans are very humble about what they have done for their country, but it feels good to be recognized for the sacrifices that were made by these men.

Mr. Kust served in the U.S. Army on active duty for three years and in the U.S. Army reserves for 18-and-a-half years. He also worked in civil service for 17 years. He is now a member of the buildings and ground crew at LHS.

He served in Ft. Dix, New Jersey; Ft. Eustis, Virginia; Korea; Cairo, Egypt; Venezuela; Ft. McCoy, Wisconsin; Corpus Christi, Texas; Ft. Carson, Colorado; Ft. Rucker, Alabama; Glenview Naval Air Station; and Waukesha County Airport in Wisconsin.

“It was an honor to serve my country as a helicopter crew chief.  I enjoyed flying all over the U.S. and to other countries.  My last eight years, I flew around the U.S. giving night-vision goggle check rides. I have 16,462 hours of flight time, all in helicopters: OH-58’s, UH-1H’s, CH-47’s, and UH-60’s. I also worked two Chicago Air and Water Shows with the Navy Seals,” stated Mr. Kust in an email.

Mr. Taormina, a current maintenance technician, was previously a technician upon the USS LY Spear. He was Navy hull technician for 20 years and was aboard a carrier, a destroyer, oiler, a subtender and a repair ship all at some point in his career. He was given the nickname Rocky from many relationships he had with many of the officers because he always defended his shipmates.

As reported on a couple of years ago, he has been to Singapore, Spain, France, Italy, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, the Virgin Islands, Germany, Turkey, Africa and many more places.

“I loved it! I had been all over the world. From one end of the globe to the other. I loved it. I have pictures from everywhere,” exclaims Mr. Taormina.

He began serving only a few years out of high school and was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1994.

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Social studies department video honors veterans