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Honoring those who served

Event organizer for Omak school also served in military

— Nancy Bishop has been organizing Veterans Day assemblies in Omak for years.

But this year was a little different for the North Omak Elementary School life skills teacher.

More than a dozen veterans were honored Friday during an assembly at the school. Each veteran was introduced by a student at the school.

Bishop not only introduced herself, but said “I also brought my veteran,” referring to her husband Dave, who retired from the Air Force in 2006.

“It’s the first time he’s come” to one of the ceremonies, she said.

Between them, the Bishops have 75 years of military service, including the Air Force, Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserves.

In addition to her 30 years of military service, Nancy Bishop, 58, was kept busy by teaching, raising her children and earning a master’s degree all at the same time.

“I look back at that and think, ‘How’d I do that?’” she said. “It was a busy life and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

The Bishops came to Omak in 2003.

Nancy Bishop taught at Paschal Sherman Indian School near Omak and is now entering her eighth year in the Omak School District.

She retired as a first sergeant from the Air Force Reserves in 2004.

Nowadays, Bishop said it’s rare that teachers also have military experience.

She said she’s the only veteran in the building at North Omak.

“I would say probably within the district, we’re down to a handful,” she said.

Superintendent Erik Swanson was another of the veterans honored at the ceremony. He served in the Army from 1970-1973 and also spent time as a teacher in the Department of Defense Education Activity, teaching the children of military families overseas.

“I thought it was it was extremely well done,” Swanson said of the ceremony.

At one point, Principal Jack Schneider asked the gathered students how many had family members who were currently in the military.

Many students raised their hands.

“It’s important that the kids get the idea” of what being in the military means, Swanson said.

“I was not too surprised to see how many children raised their hands,” Swanson said, pointing out that he, too, has family members currently serving.

Bishop gave a presentation on the meaning of the 13 folds of a flag.

Swanson said that part was “particularly powerful,” especially for those who had served in the military.

Similar presentations were done at East Omak Elementary School and Omak Middle School.

Nancy Bishop said the Veterans Day presentations are an important tool for teaching the students.

“For a lot of the kids in this area, (the military) is a way out for them,” she said. “It’s a way for them to go see things and to spread their wings.”

The Bishops also set up a display in the entryway to the school, including a shadow box of Nancy Bishop’s medals and the flag that had been given to Dave Bishop’s mother when his father died.

Joseph Bishop served in the Army during World War II. He died on his son Dave’s 18th birthday.

“He never talked about ‘his service’ very much,” Dave Bishop said. “I just learned a lot when I went to his gravesite” in Greer, S.C.

Dave Bishop said his father gave him a piece of advice regarding the military: “He told me never to go in the Army.”

Bishop followed that advice, joining the Air Force after a two-year stint at Clemson University.

“It was a family,” he said. “Air Force is my family … I told all my kids to go into the Air Force.”

Before retiring as a lieutenant colonel, he took on a variety of different roles — everything from mixing napalm to repairing battle damage to U.S. aircraft.

He remembers one particular jet that was struck by a surface-to-air missile. Despite one engine being blown off, the pilot was able to return the aircraft to the ground.

“We shipped a recovery trailer out there … We recovered the aircraft and patched it with pop cans and a lot of duct tape. We called it speed tape in the Air Force.”

spent time as a teacher in the Department of Defense Education Activity, teaching the children of military families overseas.

“I thought it was it was extremely well done,” Swanson said of the ceremony.

At one point, Principal Jack Schneider asked the gathered students how many had family members who were currently in the military.

Many students raised their hands.

“It’s important that the kids get the idea” of what being in the military means, Swanson said.

“I was not too surprised to see how many children raised their hands,” Swanson said, pointing out that he, too, has family members currently serving.

Bishop gave a presentation on the meaning of the 13 folds of a flag.

Swanson said that part was “particularly powerful,” especially for those who had served in the military.

Similar presentations were done at East Omak Elementary School and Omak Middle School.

Nancy Bishop said the Veterans Day presentations are an important tool for teaching the students.

“For a lot of the kids in this area, (the military) is a way out for them,” she said. “It’s a way for them to go see things and to spread their wings.”

The Bishops also set up a display in the entryway to the school, including a shadow box of Nancy Bishop’s medals and the flag that had been given to Dave Bishop’s mother when his father died.

Joseph Bishop served in the Army during World War II. He died on his son Dave’s 18th birthday.

“He never talked about ‘his service’ very much,” Dave Bishop said. “I just learned a lot when I went to his gravesite” in Greer, S.C.

Dave Bishop said his father gave him a piece of advice regarding the military: “He told me never to go in the Army.”

Bishop followed that advice, joining the Air Force after a two-year stint at Clemson University.

“It was a family,” he said. “Air Force is my family … I told all my kids to go into the Air Force.”

Before retiring as a lieutenant colonel, he took on a variety of different roles — everything from mixing napalm to repairing battle damage to U.S. aircraft.

He remembers one particular jet that was struck by a surface-to-air missile. Despite one engine being blown off, the pilot was able to return the aircraft to the ground.

“We shipped a recovery trailer out there … We recovered the aircraft and patched it with pop cans and a lot of duct tape.

“We called it speed tape in the Air Force.”

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