Veteran shares his story with St. Rose seventh-graders

PASO ROBLES — A group of Paso Robles seventh-graders recently had a firsthand view of Honor Flight when World War II veteran Warren Juhnke addressed the Saint Rose Catholic School history class. 

Juhnke and his son Dave, who traveled together on a Tour of Honor in October 2019, were guests of teacher Shannon Uribe, who had reached out to share news that the class had chosen Honor Flight to be the beneficiary of its “Buck-A-Jeans” annual fundraiser, a promotion in which students pay a dollar to wear jeans on a designated day each month.

The class considered several nonprofits to receive its funds and landed on Honor Flight, which led to student interest in hearing more about the organization. Juhnke, an energetic 90-something-year-old Paso Robles resident, and his son, a San Luis Obispo attorney, tackled the assignment and came to the classroom armed with photos, a PowerPoint presentation, and compelling stories about both Warren’s WWII U.S. Air Force service in Africa as well as the pair’s experience on the Washington, D.C., trip. 


One of the trip highlights was Warren Juhnke’s participation in the wreath presentation ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The more than 80-year age difference between Juhnke and the students created a powerful connection. The students hung on the veteran’s every word and presented him with an oversized thank you card at the end of the presentation.  

Further indication of the teamwork that is Honor Flight: The speaking engagement invitation came to them through their volunteers Kim Lachance, who has longtime ties to St. Rose, and veteran Don Simoneau (also a former trip guardian), who joined in for the session and took photos. Not only was the class an uplifting illustration of caring young people, but Honor Flight also received a donation check from the students.