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School & Youth
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Local Hero Visits Folger Students

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December 6, 2017

In celebration of Veterans Day, students from Folger McKinsey Elementary School welcomed Ryan Kules, a proud U.S. Army veteran and a Folger dad. Kules served in Camp Taji in Iraq until an improvised explosive device attack on November 29, 2005. As a result of the incident, two men in Kules’ platoon were killed and Kules sustained injuries that caused him to lose his right arm and left leg. After a year of recovery and rehabilitation at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Kules joined the Wounded Warrior Project. He has dedicated his post-injury life to helping his fellow service members.

The Kules family celebrates Veterans Day every year by visiting the school to talk to children about the importance of honoring veterans. Ryan’s wife, Nancy, starts and ends each visit by singing a song she created to teach children the five branches of our armed forces. The couple’s three children are active in the presentation as well. This year, each child received a special cup Nancy had made with this important message: “Veterans Day is November 11, but any day is a good day to tell a veteran, ‘Thank you for your service.’”

The Veterans Day talk was multidisciplinary and interactive. Children were able to pass around service medals that Kules received, including a Purple Heart given to him by George W. Bush in 2005. Students learned about prosthetics, including the rapid advances in technology that have occurred in the decade since Kules’ injury. Nancy encouraged students to keep learning and keep creating, because someday they will be the ones inventing the technology. Toward the end of the visit, each student was given a chance to shake Kules’ hand, look him in the eyes and say, “Thank you for your service.”

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