Patriots with Patriotism: East Newton project benefits local veterans


The students in the special education class at East Newton High School are painting the American flag onto wooden pallets to benefit the Missouri Veteran’s Home in Mount Vernon.

The project is called “Patriot Pallets.”

“First, what we did is sweep the dust off the pallet and then we painted the white one day, and then we let the white dry,” explained freshman John Lee Turner. “We painted the red the next day, so we kind of did it two days in a row when we did it. We painted the blue on Thursday and then the white stars on Friday.”

As the students are painting four days a week, they are gaining an appreciation for our nation’s flag.

“Our flag has taken a lot of hits and we want I want the students that I have to appreciate those who served under the flag and still learn what it represents for our country,” explained teacher Doug Gripka.

The project is intended for students to feel pride after accomplishing a task.

“Many times, there would be tasks that we can’t complete but they are learning step-by-step,” Gripka added. “If they take one step at a time, they can accomplish a lot of projects and perhaps, that will equate that in life skills down the road. If they can see things as a process step-by-step, they will feel more confident in themselves.”

Several businesses within Newton County donated the materials to make this project possible.

The pallets are available for a suggested donation of ten dollars. All donations will be given to the Missouri Veteran’s Home.

“They want it to be the best it can be because it does have their name on it, hand-painted by them, and they are proud of their work,” Gripka explained.

“It makes you feel good inside knowing that you are helping the veterans getting money to do stuff they want to do,” said freshman TJ Hofatins.

If you would like to learn more about the pallets or make a suggested donation, please call the high school at (417)472-6238.

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