TREMONT, Ill. (WMBD) — Every Thursday morning for the past six years, Vietnam veteran Rick Otey and group of fellow veterans give fist bumps to kids coming in to Tremont Grade School.
“We fist bump them just to encourage them and they’re more of an encouragement to us. I think the kids enjoy it, the veterans enjoy it. I’ve had teachers tell me Thursday is their most favorite day,” said Otey.
Each week, they choose one fourth grade boy and one fourth grade girl as their honorary veterans of the day.
“We give them a nice certificate,” said Otey.
Past honorary vets Olivia and Griffin said it’s incredible to see the veterans continue to show up every week and they are thankful for their service.
“It’s awesome they are giving their time. They’re just sacrificing their time after how much they’ve already put in for our country to be so free. It’s really nice,” said fourth grader Olivia.
“I like giving the veterans fist bumps and I’m happy they devoted their time to come to the school on Thursdays,” said fourth grader Griffin Beutel.
Vietnam veteran Ron Willmore has been giving fist bumps to the kids for the past three years.
He said giving kids fist bumps makes his day.
“It feels great, and more of them are saying thank you for your service. That’s good they’re saying that and makes us feel good,” he said.
Otey said there were initially three members in the veteran fist bump group. It’s grown by word of mouth to 18 members.