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West County holds annual veterans banquet photo

Attendees of a previous Veterans Banquet at West County High School take time to talk after dinner and before the start of the annual patriotic concert to follow. This year's banquet will be held at 5 p.m. on Thursday at West County High School.

For the last several years, West County School District has put together an annual Veterans Banquet as a way to give back to the community and give its students another opportunity to serve individuals who have served them.

The banquet is a two-part event with the first part being a dinner, and the second part being a concert. The veterans banquet will be held Thursday at the West County High School with dinner beginning at 5 p.m., and the concert beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Tiffany Bungenstock, family and consumer sciences teacher, said that the school district has been doing this banquet for more than 10 years, and she has been involved for the last eight years.

The dinner is prepared and put together as a combined effort from Bungenstock’s foods class and the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) group which Bungenstock is the advisor for.

Bungenstock explained that the dinner is a Thanksgiving style dinner that the district hosts for veterans, senior citizens and their families in the community.

The Patriotic Concert takes place after the dinner, and the concert is put together by a joint effort from the West County Choir, West County Band, Elementary Honor Choir and Mineral Area College Community Band.

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The choir director for West County is Ryan Hassell, the band director is Darren Cordray, the honor choir director is Drew Hartenberger and the community band director for MAC is Dan Schunks.

On behalf of the middle school, Bungenstock explained that the school does more than the annual banquet to honor veterans. The school has a military wall of honor with laminated pictures of veterans who are a part of the community.

In addition to the wall, the school will have an assembly on Nov. 13 with presenter Ryan Retzer, teacher at the alternative school, who served in the military.

“Doing this is just our way to give back to the veterans and the senior citizens of our community who have paved a way for us,” said Bungenstock

In past years there have been 100 or more individuals attend the banquet, and many students are involved in pulling the banquet off.

“It is always a great thing to have students serve in a way that the only reward they receive is just serving,” said Bungenstock. “There is such a gap between generations, and I think anytime you can bridge that gap between the way things used to be and the way things are now so adults and students can understand each other is something that we should be doing.”

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Macey Adams is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3616 or madams@dailyjournalonline.com

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