American heroes honored in Gautier - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

American heroes honored in Gautier

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GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) -

Hundreds of men and women who fought for our country were honored by Gautier High School during Monday's 12th annual Veterans Breakfast.

The food and fellowship was followed by a ceremony where U.S. Congressman Steven Palazzo thanked the veterans for their service.

For students, meeting people like World War II veteran Adelchi Pilutti is like taking part in a living history lesson. Pilutti was a member of the 82nd Airborne, and served for more than 30 years.

"I was in Normandy, and then I jumped in Holland later that year," Pilutti said. "These students here and the faculty, they put on a great, great greeting here to us and it comes from the heart."

Pilutti said it's rewarding having so many students, like Morgan Clodfelter, honor him for his service.

"I'm actually very proud, because my dad has served plenty of times over in Iraq. So, I know how it feels to be a family member of a veteran," Clodfelter said.

Gautier High School's Veterans Breakfast started 12 years ago with about 20 veterans. It now draws hundreds. 

"We have World War II veterans, Korean, Vietnam veterans, Panama, Nicaragua, Desert Storm and teachers talk about that and students learn it. So, it's just really a great experience for them to talk to these people and can teach them way more than I can because it's living history," said former U.S. History Teacher Susie Bounds, who started the program.

Bounds now serves as a volunteer who works with the school to put on the event year after year. She said it wouldn't be possible without the hard work and dedication of the students.

This year, both the veterans and students left with special memories and appreciation for one another.

"It's good to be here," Pilutti said.

"Thank you for serving for us. We love you and God Bless you all," said Clodfelter.

Copyright 2011 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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