MSN honors veterans with program, panel discussion with alums

MSN Veterans Day Panel 2019
Former Marine Captain Sean Dixon, former Marine 1st Lt. Logan Deffner, 
former Army Sgt. Evan Hutson, and Army 2nd Lt. Alex Auckerman

(November 8, 2019) - Center Grove Middle School North honored veterans on Friday, November 8, 2019 with a program and a panel discussion with four Center Grove High School alums: former Marine Captain Sean Dixon, former Marine 1st Lt. Logan Deffner, former Army Sgt. Evan Hutson, and Army 2nd Lt. Alex Auckerman. Students invited the veterans in their lives for a breakfast and recognition during the program. 
During the panel discussion, one student asked the four CGHS alums why they chose to enlist. Hutson said he made the decision after the attacks on 9/11, along with two other friends.
"I really didn't care what people thought," Hutson said. "I had made the commitment to myself."
Another student asked about the importance of support from back home. Deffner shared how that support made a huge difference to him on a very cold morning in Afghanistan. It had been a rough week and that morning he woke up to find his toothpaste was frozen.
"I remember as I was digging through my backpack that I had a small little bottle of Listerine. I was able to use that to at least feel a little bit better about myself," he said. "That small little bottle had come from a care package from the community, specifically Middle School North. Beth Heavin and several other teachers were instrumental in making that happen... It's something I will never forget."
When asked about the sacrifices of military service, Aukerman encouraged the students to talk with the honored guests who were recognized for receiving Purple Hearts.
"Sacrifice is about looking out for those to the left and right of you, not just yourself," Aukerman said. "It's easy to kind of blend in and just get by. But when teams can take that next step and sacrifice for each other, then they really care about each other.
Hutson shared that he cannot think about sacrifice without thinking about Marine Sgt. John Rankel. Rankel attended Center Grove schools from 8th grade through his sophomore year in high school. He was 23 in June of 2010 when he was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan while providing cover to get members of his unit to safety. 
"Johnny gave his life, literally as a living sacrifice," Hutson said. "You just have to do your best every day to live your life in a way that will bring them honor and respect."