FRANKTON — World War II veteran Mulford "Muff" Davis is seen as a living treasure in his Frankton community.
"He fought in World War II. These kids, they read about World War II and that's the only thing they know about it," said Brad Scott, a teacher at Frankton Jr./Sr. High School. "It's nice to see someone who's lived it."
Davis was among those honored Monday at the school's Veterans Day program.
Davis, a retired Army infantry soldier, saw North Africa, Italy and France during World War II. He is a big member of the community, coaching basketball for 15 years at Frankton and serving as Highland's principal for 13 years.
Davis said the turnout for these Veterans Day programs is much appreciated by him and other former members of the armed services.
"There was a time where people didn't look up on veterans in the military like they should," Davis said. "After all, it (the armed services) is the backbone of this nation."
Scott said organizers try to make their Veterans Day program as personal as possible.
They announce each veteran individually and have them escorted out of the stands by students so they can sit on the basketball court. He said this has increased the number of veterans who show up.
"It makes our program centered around the veterans instead of a speaker coming in," Scott said. "People hear about it and more veterans show up and students start inviting their family members to come."
He said having local veterans come to these events, and honoring them in front of the students increases the appreciation for veterans. The program centered on the history of Veterans Day and the ties back to World War I when it was Armistice Day.
For a former Marine like Wally Copeland, celebrations like these seemed far-fetched when he was in the service. Copeland got out just before the Vietnam War began and said it pained him to see how soldiers were treated by American citizens back then.
"They'd come home and you're just ordinary people," Copeland said. "There was no thank-you, no appreciation. Nobody there to greet you when you came. It's just so great to come here and get some recognition. Especially for the guys that actually were in combat."
Scott said he realized there isn't an adequate way to thank the veterans besides just being grateful.
"We can stand here until the buses come and go, until this school year is over, until our lives our done and say nothing but thank you and that wouldn't be enough," Scott said. "These people are heroes."
Follow Zach Osowski on Twitter @Osowski_THB or call him at 640-4847.