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BURLINGTON — Students at Karcher Middle School have raised enough funds to send 15 veterans on a Stars and Stripes Honor Flight. The students were inspired to help Wisconsin Veterans after their Social Studies teacher, Katherine Botsford, accompanied her dad on an Honor Flight in October.

Karcher kids really put their hearts into the Cash for a Cause efforts, raising $7716.26, enough to send 15 Wisconsin Veterans on the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight. Front Row: Cash Vanderwerff, Nolan Hughes, Max Shaffer, Sylas Montes De Oca, Lily Robshaw, Katherine Botsford Back Row: Andrea Hancock, Kamryn Boero, Ellie Hoffman, Matthew Hoffman, Noah Satter, Max Bruley, Maggie Rowntree, Lydia Rowntree, Nick Ryan Not Pictured: Madison Cornell, Addi Hembrook – Credit: Karcher Middle School

The Stars and Stripes Honor Flight, Inc. honors veterans with a life-changing trip to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials and experience a day of honor and thanks.

Before Botsford went on the Honor Flight with her dad, she encouraged 7th-grade students to make cards. More than 100 cards were made and handed out during the “Mail Call” on the flight home from Washington D.C.

The kindness and compassion didn’t stop there for students at Karcher Middle School.

The letter writing that started as a simple gesture of kindness toward veterans blossomed into Karcher Middle School students wanting to help more veterans.  

‘Compassionate Crew’ at Karcher Middle School

Andrea Hancock, a 7th-grade science teacher who also advises Karcher Middle School’s “Compassionate Crew,” and Botsford put their heads together to think bigger. They created Cash for a Cause as a way to get donations to be able to sponsor veterans to go on future Stars and Stripes Honor Flights.

Students made personal sacrifices to raise these funds.

Nearly every student participated by giving loose change, cash, or checks from their parents. Students called grandparents, aunts and uncles to personally invite them to participate. Some students donated money they earned by doing jobs at home.

Kamryn Boero, a student, wrote a long letter that her mom posted on social media to raise awareness. Sisters, Lydia and Maggie Rowntree, used birthday money to buy supplies to make earrings that they sold online for $5 each.

Katherine Botsford and Andrea Hancock – Credit: Karcher Middle School

Exceeding goals

It costs about $500 to send a veteran on a day trip to Washington D.C., for a priceless experience.

For two weeks, students brought in money. During morning announcements, new tallies would be shared. When all totaled, Karcher Middle School students significantly exceeded their original goal.

“To think our goal was three veterans – one per grade,” Botsford said. “And we quadrupled it!”

The school raised $7,716.26. Which is enough money to send 15 veterans to Washington D.C. to see the memorials honoring their service in World War II and the Vietnam and Korean Wars.

“Each time I hear a new total, I share it with my dad, and it brings him so much joy,” she said.

Botsford’s dad, Ron Tichy, lives in Waterford, Wis., and served as a Marine in the Vietnam War. Since going on his honor flight a month ago, his health has declined.

Hearing what the middle school students have done for fellow veterans has strengthened his spirits.

One way to give back led to another way to give back. There’s no doubt that the gift of their funds will go on to impact other Wisconsin Veterans.


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