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Shalimar students send Sentiments

A first grade student carefully colors a thank-you card Feb. 16 at Shalimar Elementary. First grade students made cards for local retired service-members who were injured during their time of service. More than 90 thank you cards will be handed out at the VFW Post 7674 in Fort Walton, Beach, Fla., Feb. 21st. (U.S. Air Force photo/Sachel Seabrook)

A first grade student carefully colors a thank-you card Feb. 16 at Shalimar Elementary. First grade students made cards for local retired service-members who were injured during their time of service. More than 90 thank you cards will be handed out at the VFW Post 7674 in Fort Walton, Beach, Fla., Feb. 21st. (U.S. Air Force photo/Sachel Seabrook)

Abbie Break concentrates on coloring her thank you card Feb. 16 at Shalimar Elementary. First grade students made cards for local retired service-members who were injured during their time of service. More than 90 thank you cards will be handed out at the VFW Post 7674 in Fort Walton, Beach, Fla., Feb. 21st. (U.S. Air Force photo/Sachel Seabrook)

Abbie Break concentrates on coloring her thank you card Feb. 16 at Shalimar Elementary. First grade students made cards for local retired service-members who were injured during their time of service. More than 90 thank you cards will be handed out at the VFW Post 7674 in Fort Walton, Beach, Fla., Feb. 21st. (U.S. Air Force photo/Sachel Seabrook)

Airman 1st Class Jonathan Sanchez, 46th Maintenance Squadron, takes a look at 7-year-old Christopher Jackson's thank you card Feb. 16 at Shalimar Elementary. First grade students made cards for local retired service-members who were injured during their time of service. More than 90 thank you cards will be handed out at the VFW Post 7674 in Fort Walton, Beach, Fla., Feb. 21st. (U.S. Air Force photo/Sachel Seabrook)

Airman 1st Class Jonathan Sanchez, 46th Maintenance Squadron, takes a look at 7-year-old Christopher Jackson's thank you card Feb. 16 at Shalimar Elementary. First grade students made cards for local retired service-members who were injured during their time of service. More than 90 thank you cards will be handed out at the VFW Post 7674 in Fort Walton, Beach, Fla., Feb. 21st. (U.S. Air Force photo/Sachel Seabrook)

Alyssa Cooper proudly shows her colorful thank-you card Feb. 16 at Shalimar Elementary. First grade students made cards for local retired service-members who were injured during their time of service. More than 90 thank you cards will be handed out at the VFW Post 7674 in Fort Walton, Beach, Fla., Feb. 21st. (U.S. Air Force photo/Sachel Seabrook)

Alyssa Cooper proudly shows her colorful thank-you card Feb. 16 at Shalimar Elementary. First grade students made cards for local retired service-members who were injured during their time of service. More than 90 thank you cards will be handed out at the VFW Post 7674 in Fort Walton, Beach, Fla., Feb. 21st. (U.S. Air Force photo/Sachel Seabrook)

Katalina Moore concentrates on coloring her thank-you card Feb. 16 at Shalimar Elementary. First grade students made cards for local retired service-members who were injured during their time of service. More than 90 thank you cards will be handed out at the VFW Post 7674 in Fort Walton, Beach, Fla., Feb. 21st. (U.S. Air Force photo/Sachel Seabrook)

Katalina Moore concentrates on coloring her thank-you card Feb. 16 at Shalimar Elementary. First grade students made cards for local retired service-members who were injured during their time of service. More than 90 thank you cards will be handed out at the VFW Post 7674 in Fort Walton, Beach, Fla., Feb. 21st. (U.S. Air Force photo/Sachel Seabrook)

EGLIN Air Force Base, Fla. -- Sounds of crayons coloring on construction paper, smells of glue and cheerful chatter filled the Shalimar Elementary cafeteria the morning of Feb. 16.

Colorful cards of gratitude were created by 1st grade students to show their appreciation for local veterans, a simple idea Airman 1st Class Jonathan Sanchez, 46th Maintenance Squadron, said came from a casual conversation.

"The idea came from my first shirt who was discussing the wounded warrior project," said Airman Sanchez. "Then I thought why not thank those who have served here in our local area?"

His thoughts and actions paid off. With Airman 1st Class Sanchez's encouragement, over 90 thank you cards were made by the 1st graders for retired service-members who had been injured.

"This is a good way for them to say thank you in their own childlike way," said Margaret Wolthers, a kindergarten and first grade teacher. "We're a military community and I think it's a great way for them to show their support whether they have a family member who serves or not."

Students like 7-year-old Katalina Moore happily drew images of flags, rainbows, cats and hearts with messages like "I love the Air Force" on cards for service members who remind her of her own family members.

"I'm doing this for people like me daddy," said Ms. Moore. "He's been to war a few times and I'm always happy when he comes home safe."

The cards will be handed at the VFW Post 7674 in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., Feb 21st.

"This is going to be healing for so many men and women," said Maj. Michael Monfalcone, 46th Maintenance Squadron commander. "It lets them know they are truly appreciated for the service they have done to insure the safety of our country."