FORTY FORT, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Area middle school students learned about the meaning of Veterans Day from a local army veteran on Monday. Rick Blaine of Heroes Hearthstone is a former army paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division.

He served in Iraq in 2003 and 2004 during Desert Storm and worked as an assistant to the army chaplain.

When Blaine returned from active duty, he started Heroes Hearthstone, an organization that advocates for veterans by offering peer-to-peer support and helps guide vets toward establishing joyful lives after military service.

Blaine spoke to the eighth-grade class at Wyoming Seminary Lower School in forty fort Monday.

“Find a veteran in your life and ask ‘What does freedom mean to you?’ ‘What does it feel like to serve?’ ‘To serve something greater than you?’ ‘Why did you join the military?’ And tell me about the people you served with. You’ll develop an appreciation and a deeper sense of gratitude for things we have, but take for granted,” Blaine said.

Following the presentation, Heroes Hearthstone was presented a check by eighth grader and Blue Team Leader Alec Weinberger, who organized the Veterans Day event in Luzerne County.