North Platte veterans, from across the branches of the military, had lunch with students at Washington Elementary on Thursday

Mark Cullinan, an FBI agent and a U.S. Army veteran, shares lunch with students at Washington Elementary on Thursday. Cullinan and five other veterans shared stories and time with the students in honor of Veterans Day.

The group of military veterans poked a little fun at each other, with the Air Force getting the most jabs, on Thursday at Washington Elementary.

Pete Volz, an Air Force veteran, was a few minutes late. When he did arrive, the veterans representing the other branches pointed that out to him with some good-natured ribbing.

The five men and one woman visited briefly with students, and then they all had lunch together in celebration of Veterans Day, which takes place on Monday.

“I get to go first because I was in the Air Force,” Volz said as the others enjoyed his jab back at them. “I flew B-52s and its wingspan is longer than a football field.”

Volz; Mark Cullinan, who served in the Army and National Guard; Lori Evans, Navy; Philip Parish, Army; and Police Chief Dan Hudson, Marines, were honored for their service. Dylan Lawrence, Army, is still serving as a recruiter in North Platte.

“I’m a heavy equipment operator,” Lawrence said. “I just spent about five months in Poland and we got to blow a lot of stuff up. That’s pretty much all I do is dig holes and blow stuff up.”

“That’s kind of a guy thing, right,” Evans said with a laugh. “I was on a destroyer tender, which means that these guys blew things up — I put things back together that other people blew up.”

Evans said her ship was longer than two football fields.

“I was an artillery forward observer when I was in active duty,” Parish said. “I spent a little less than a year in Afghanistan.”

Cullinan, who is an FBI agent, started out in the National Guard.

“I did what Mr. Parish did,” Cullinan said. “When I went on active duty, they asked if I would fly helicopters. I went to flight school and they put me on Apaches, which is a gun ship that is designed to destroy tanks.”

North Platte Police Chief Hudson said he volunteered to go on embassy duty.

“There are embassies in every country in the world that we have diplomatic relations with,” Hudson said. “I was a Marine security guard and I was responsible for protecting the ambassador and all the Americans that worked in that building.”

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