Honor Tour

PBHS hosts 14th annual Honor Tour send-off
Posted on 09/11/2018
PBHS hosts 14th annual Honor Tour send-off

A special tribute for veterans visiting the United States capital began before they even left town, as Poplar Bluff High School students hosted a school-wide assembly to set the tone for the 14th annual Honor Tour.

A total of 28 veterans—the majority of whom served in the Korean War as well as several who fought in World War II and Vietnam—spent the weekend on an all-expense paid trip to see monuments and other historical sites in Washington, D.C. 

But before they headed out, organizers arranged a surprise stop on Friday, Sept. 7, to the High School where veterans were escorted out of a charter bus by cheerleaders and saluted by a line of JROTC cadets in the gymnasium, as has been tradition in years past. 

“This event would not have happened without a man of uncommon courage, grit and determination,” said Missouri House Speaker Todd Richardson to the audience. “It’s one of the reasons I’m proud to call [Poplar Bluff] home.” 

Rep. Richardson, who was one of the distinguished speakers, was referring to Honor Tour founder Rob Callahan of First Midwest Bank. Callahan realized his vision in 2007 with the original intention of bringing WWII veterans to see for the first time the memorial that took decades to erect honoring their service and sacrifice. 

Callahan, who was later named Poplar Bluff Chamber Citizen of the Year, explained that he determined veterans were limited financially and physically, so he found a way to eliminate those constraints. Generous contributions are made by local businesses to a nonprofit that was formed in order to accomplish the mission.

Other speakers last week included Poplar Bluff Mayor Pro Tem Steve Davis, who quoted the farewell letter of the late U.S. Sen. John McCain: “Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We make history.” 

Host Mike Owen, principal of PBHS, commented how the superhero genre has been very popular on the big screen in recent years, but the veterans being honored today are the true heroes. Callahan’s wife, Donna, later read a poem she dedicated to her father entitled, “American Heroes.” 

The program concluded with the director of the John J. Pershing VA Medical Center, Dr. Patricia Hall, giving a final ‘thank you’ after she acknowledged that she was the last person interfering with the sightseeing planned, and then the Sho-Me Band performed. 

A convoy of military and emergency vehicles led the bus off campus through Oak Grove where elementary students lined the roadway waving handmade signs and American flags.

### 

Cutline: The guests of honor are guided to their seats on the basketball court.

Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2018 West Corporation. All rights reserved.