In the 2007-08 school year, Jacob Lamphier was in Stephanie Welch’s first grade class at Custer Elementary School. Now, fourteen years later, Welch’s current crop of first graders are sending Lamphier personal notes and drawings after the Ferndale grad and active U.S. Air Force member was deployed to West Asia.
Welch said she always makes a point of emphasizing Veterans Day in her classroom. The holiday is personal for her, as her three grandfathers are veterans, one of whom witnessed the attack on Pearl Harbor.
But this year, after Lamphier’s mother, Michelle, told Welch about Jacob’s October deployment, the Custer teacher felt her former student could be a great hook to teach her class about Veterans Day.
Each student in Welch’s class sent Lamphier a piece of paper. One side of the paper has a U.S. Flag, which the students colored in red, white and blue. The other side is blank, so students drew pictures and wrote notes to Lamphier. A few examples of what they wrote: “Thank you for your service.” “Thank you for protecting us.” “I love you.”
“I think that’s really cool, that even as a 6 or 7 year old, they understand how important this is, that a person chose to help defend their country,” Welch said.
Custer isn’t the only local school honoring Lamphier this year for Veterans Day. Horizon Middle School and Ferndale High School, both of which Lamphier also attended, included information about him in their Veterans Day presentations this week.
“I think it’s very important to help students get a better understanding of why we celebrate the day -- it’s not just a day off, but a day to recognize those who have served our country,” Horizon Principal Christine McDaniel said of the Veterans Day presentation.
Lamphier is a graduate of Ferndale High’s Class of 2019. His mother, Michelle, described him as a tough go-getter and a natural leader.
“He has a really good work ethic and a really good attitude,” Michelle Lamphier said of her son. “If you knocked him down, it didn’t matter – he’d get right back up.”
Michelle Lamphier said she loved that her son, Jacob, is being honored by his old Ferndale schools during Veterans Day.
“I am proud that the teachers from all the schools look to him as a role model,” she said. “It makes me feel like my husband and I did our part as a parent, giving Jacob a good foundation.”