The Clewiston News

Celebrating local heroes at Easide Elementary


Eastside Elementary School set aside time on Wednesday, Sept. 29 during their school day to have a special Ceremony honoring local heroes. The entire school gathered in the cafeteria dressed in red, white and blue hats, waving little flags. The police department, sheriff, paramedics and E.M.Ts, fire department, doctors, nurses and local government officials gathered as well.

The high school Future Farmers of America chapter greeted all who entered and handed out flags. The Color Guard presented the flags and the band played the national anthem. It was a beautiful ceremony of honor not only for our local Heroes but also a wonderful representation of pride for our country.

One sweet little girl, Mia Hawkins, sat in the very front waving her flag and smiling big as can be. From the outside you would never have known her dad was away in Afghanistan being a soldier.

I confess I knew he was coming to surprise her, and she sat there happy as can be, that in itself spoke a message the world should learn a lesson from.

Mrs. Durance, the principal, called out all the different heroes and the kids waved their flags honoring each hero. At the end she said, “We have one last hero who couldn’t be here for Take Your Daddy to School Day and he would like to see his daughter.”

As Sergeant First Class Jarod Hawkins came walking in, it was quiet and I heard her little tiny voice say “Daddy!”

She ran and jumped into his arms and held on and didn’t let go.

That was the end of the program. There was not a dry eye in the school. They were then joined by mom BelyAnn Hawkins and the reunion was a beautiful tear-filled success.

Mia’s smile was huge, and when asked who her hero was, she said, “My daddy.”

Walking away, I couldn’t help but feel blessed for getting to watch such a beautiful moment with such a sweet family. There are local heroes all around us; please remember to give honor where honor is due whenever you pass them by. They sacrifice so much, along with their families every day.