Knoxville elementary kids make birthday cards for ill veteran

Local News

An East Tennessee veteran has fallen ill, and a local group is trying to lift his spirits.

The veteran’s birthday is coming up, so some Knoxville elementary school students spent Tuesday morning making cards to send to him.

“Thank you for serving our country and being in the Marines,” third grade student Nailah McAlister read from her card. “I heard your birthday was in December.”

Letter by letter, the classes at Ball Camp Elementary wrote their cards.

“An American flag behind him and then I’m drawing an eagle,” third grade student Victor Viets said as he showed off the front of his.

It is a big surprise for an East Tennessee veteran with a December birthday who is having a hard time.

“He’s just getting weaker and losing more weight and the doctors can’t seem to find out what’s wrong with him,” said Willie Franklin.

Franklin spearheaded the project at Ball Camp Elementary. He’s executive director of “A Home 4 Hero’s” which works to build veterans new homes.

This time it is a different plan, but the same goal.

“Simply by what his wife has written us and told us about him and his love and what he’s been through and sacrificed, and we want him to know that hey we care,” Franklin said.

He answered questions for the kids before they got started then watched their excitement to send some love.

“The fact that they’re wanting to help another veteran and hand make cards, you couldn’t get any better than that. It takes love to do that,” Franklin said.

It was personal for a few of the kids. Nailah McAlister’s dad just enlisted.

“He did this for us and he didn’t have to but he wanted to and I’m very proud of him,” she said.

Victor Viets has big goals for himself to join the Navy.

“Me and my dad like to study sometimes since my dad was once in it,” he said.

Taking some time out of their day to brighten someone else’s is something they are glad to do.

“I just think it’s kind of kind and to help someone that’s already helped us,” Victor said.

Franklin added, “Maybe it’ll give him his strength back. That’s our hope.”

If you would like to send this veteran a birthday card, you can mail it to P.O. Box 34, Greenback, Tennessee 37742, c/o “A Home For Hero’s.”

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