Auxier Elementary Aviators Honor Favorite WWII Hero

Jack Holder with his plaque from the Arizona Patriot Guard Riders.

The Auxier Elementary Aviators are a special bunch. The students are led by teachers and administrators on a mighty important mission of “inspiring the leader within.”

But don’t be fooled. The mission does not mean the students cannot be inspired by leaders from the outside. Nor does it mean the precious little aviators cannot have a favorite World War II U.S. Navy Aviator. They most certainly do. His name is Jack Holder.

Since there are no classes on the National Holiday of Veterans Day, the 5th annual Veterans Day Celebration was held by the Auxier Elementary Aviators this morning. Though the school is part of the Chandler Unified School District, it is located beyond the Chandler, Arizona city limits in the neighboring town of Queen Creek.

Because of Covid-19 protocols and restrictions, the 2020 tribute was done as a drive by parade in front of the school. Some students and staff were outside waving flags. Others stayed in their classrooms and watched the festivities online.

The dedicated captain of the flight crew for this event is Maureen Alger. She is a wonderful woman, a first-grade teacher, and a special friend of Jack Holder.

It is because of this personal relationship that Jack has basically been adopted as the school’s honorary all-time favorite aviator. He has spoken in person at the school in the past. Yesterday, Jack Holder did online visits with groups of classes from the first, fifth, and sixth grades.

During the Auxier Elementary 2020 Veterans Day Tribute, Jack Holder kicked things off by leading the students through the Pledge of Allegiance as the American flag and Arizona flag were raised behind him.

Usually the school has about 100 Arizona Veterans for a ceremony in the back of the school. This time, a smaller group of distinguished U.S. Military Veterans rolled past a long line of patriotic students in front of Auxier Elementary. It was the type of Covid-19 drive by parade which because it has been considered safe, has become quite popular during the pandemic.

Leading the way were members of the Arizona Patriot Guard Riders. They were in cars, trucks, and of course, motorcycles. The Veteran brothers and sisters in the group also surprised Jack Holder with a custom plaque to recognize his extraordinary service to our country.

You can see all of this in the attached video below. Meantime, before we go, special thanks again to Auxier Elementary Aviators for being such awesome hosts. Finally, Jack Holder, his Beach Crew member Dennis Gardner, and myself would like to wish every Veteran a BIG thank you for your service and another BIG thanks to you and your families for your sacrifice.

Maureen Alger and Jack Holder.