Lausanne Middle School students Jason Reed, Maggie Spence, Parker Trusty, Andrew Tian, Jacob Hackney and Jess Heist are all smiles with Forever Young’s Diane Hight and World War II veteran Eddie Spencer after surprising him with an Honor Flight trip to Italy last week.
Lausanne Collegiate School Middle School students surprised Eddie Spencer, a World War II veteran, with a full-paid Honor Flight to Italy on April 17.
Mr. Eddie, as he is called around the school, served in World War II, which shaped his life.
Collierville-based senior wish organization, Forever Young, organizes trips so that veterans, like Mr. Spencer, can return and visit the places where they made history.
Lausanne Middle School students heard about this opportunity and immediately began a $6,000 fundraising campaign to send Spencer on the trip. As of Friday, the monetary goal had been reached through the RocketHub website.
The students were also able to present Forever Young founder Diane Hight, an addition check for $2,600 to go toward another veteran’s trip.
The 94-year-old veteran was interviewed in 2008 as a part of Lausanne’s Oral History Program for the purpose of documenting his stories of combat during the war. Since that initial visit, Spencer has driven himself to Lausanne several times a week to talk with kids, teach art classes, have lunch or go fishing at the lake.
Spencer discovered how much he was respected and valued by the students when during one of his first visits he walked through Lausanne’s Tully Dining Hall during lunch and the entire student body stood up and applauded him.
Spencer served more than 550 consecutive days in World War II with the 403rd Antiaircraft Artillery Gun Battalion of the Fifth Army.
On April 8, 1945, one of the significant moments of Spencer’s time in Italy was the Battle of Cassino.
Spencer was visibly moved by the generosity and efforts of our Lausanne Middle School students and said he is looking forward to his return to Italy.