LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Students at Trinity Elementary remembers those who served our country on Veteran's Day, but they also honored one man who touched their lives. Matthew Burkett served seven months overseas in the Middle East, which he says is his call of duty and he is proud to be one of the few who served. He is thankful for one classroom full of students who were there for him when he was overseas.
Burkett's mother is a teacher at Trinity Christian Elementary School. To her second grade students, the service of Matthew means their freedom and gave them a chance to help a soldier.
"We wrote letters to him," said Donna Burkett, Matthew's mom. "My students and the parents in my classroom were a incredible support to me just knowing that they were praying for him and knowing that they cared."
Donna says she kept her class close to her son as a support system here in his home town while away on active duty. "We sent cards of encouragement to him. And one day when he was gone, he actually called and we got to Skype with him."
"I'm doing what I was called to do and I'm doing my duty, but more so for me to be able to come back and say thank you for your prayers and thank you for supporting all of us," said Matthew. He says it is humbling to have people care when he says it's just doing his job. "It made me feel glad that he had told me thank you and that was really cool."
On Veteran's Day, Burkett told his stories of the naval ship he worked on. "We have coffin racks, basically all your storage is underneath your mattress, so you lift it up and it opens like a coffin."
His ship was the subject of a nationally televised story, as he and his shipmates saved Yemeni fishermen from Somali Pirates that took over their ship. "We were doing counter piracy operations off the coast of Opon, Yemin and Somalia. When we were on board we discovered four AK-47's and four rocket propelled grenades. Fortunately we did not know about the incident until it had already happened."
Even through the tough times, the classroom of second graders kept right by Burkett's side. I felt real scared, I didn't like the fact he was in trouble. I told my mom and we started praying about it," said David Luke Vincent, second grader. "I'm proud to actually meet somebody I had been praying for," said Brant Bolton, second grader.
Matthew Burkett will present a flag in a special ceremony to a Trinity Christian Elementary student as a memorial for her father's duty in the Navy, serving two times in Vietnam.
Coming up tonight on KCBD NewsChannel 11 at 10, we will have more on the ceremony.
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