Local hero honored

WAKARUSA — As autumn nears its end, there comes a time when the holidays welcome a season of inspiration and remembrance. 
There is Veterans Day, when our nation honors those who have sacrificed in indescribable ways, those who served faithfully for the greater good of America and its citizens.
And there is Thanksgiving, when folks reflect within and rediscover the blessings that can’t be quantified, that cannot be seen, but are part of our hearts all the same.
On Nov. 19, the students and staff of Wakarusa Elementary embraced the spirit of both of those occasions, and shared their gratitude towards the family a true hometown hero. 
A school-wide presentation took place that afternoon, which paid tribute to Staff Sgt. Travis Hunsberger, a 2002 NorthWood High School graduate who lost his life while on active duty in Afghanistan June 27, 2008. Hunsberger’s family, including parents Steve and Ronda, were in attendance for the special ceremony.
Steve Hunsberger gave a stirring rendition of the National Anthem, as the staff and students joined in. The children then offered their interpretations of “This Land is Your Land,” and “God Bless America,” led in the chorus by music teacher Shawn Skaggs.
The Hunsberger family was also presented with a plaque, given by Wakarusa Elementary principal Larry Nafziger. A book was donated to the school library, as a tribute to Hunsberger, entitled “H is for Honor.”  Several first-grade students gave insight into the book, which talks about the nation’s military, and offered a PowerPoint showcase of illustrations featured in the book.