By Dave Russell


Jackson County Public Schools will honor the 15 veterans among its personnel this week and beyond.

“We’re going to be honoring them several ways,” Superintendent Dana Ayers said. “We’re going to have a luncheon for them Wednesday in the Board Room, and we have asked the principals to cover their classes if needed, though not all are teachers.

School administration would decorate the office for the occasion, she said.

“Also, our principals have been having their students write them cards and notes of thanks for service not to just to our country, but to Jackson County Public Schools as well, and they will be getting those over the next two weeks,” Ayers said.

Administrators have rented several billboards along N.C. 107 with the message “JCPS recognizes and honors our veterans who served.” 

“It will have the person’s name and their school and their years of service and their branch and a then and now picture,” Ayers said. “We’re paying for those to run a couple of weeks.”

The JCPS employees who served are Cora Fields, (Navy, 1976-2001), Teri Walawender, (Army, 1985-1988), Adam Corallo (Army, 2013-2016), Dan Portale, (Army, 2008), Daniel Lee (Army, 1976-2008), Stacy Macke, (Navy, 1994-1995), Jason Dupree, (Army, 2004-2017), Tom Walawender (Army, 1985-1990) and Kyle Kilby (Army, 2010-2012).

Six of the veterans chose not to be acknowledged on the billboards and in The Sylva Herald.

“We owe a big debt of gratitude to our veterans not only for their service to our country but to our students,” Ayers. “We’re very excited about this and want very much to recognize them. This is something we should do year-round and not just one day per year.”