Clarkston Junior High courtyard dedication honors late veteran - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Clarkston Junior High courtyard dedication honors late veteran

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Spc. Jenna Beno Memorial Courtyard at Clarkston Junior High School Spc. Jenna Beno Memorial Courtyard at Clarkston Junior High School
CLARKSTON, Mich. (WJBK) -

Students at Clarkston Junior High School know the true meaning of Memorial Day. It's not about barbecues or having a day off. It's about honoring our fallen veterans. Thursday, they paid tribute to one of their own.

"It was very humbling just sitting here going through this. You get to a point where you wonder if anybody really does care, and they do care," said Bill Beno.

Army Specialist Jenna Beno's mother and father sat in the front row as students and teachers celebrated their daughter's life and the lives she touched, especially in Clarkston.

"Jenna blew into my classroom like a strong, but refreshing wind. She was tiny, but mighty," said Clarkston High School teacher Jeanie Lamereaux.

Jenna went on to college and then made the brave decision to serve our country.

"She was passionate about serving the country and following in the footsteps of her brother. Although I was sad that academia would lose her, I knew for sure that she would be a tough solider," Lamereaux said.

But this tough and dedicated solider suffered a devastating vocal cord injury during a roadside bombing in Iraq. She spent nearly three years at Walter Reed Hospital, but even that didn't stop her from helping others and raising awareness about post traumatic stress disorder.

"Even after her injuries, in her own struggles, in her own dark days, that she continued to always be a very passionate advocate for wounded warriors or just veterans in general and what they face when they come home," said mother Kristi Beno.

But this past October, 24-year-old Jenna died of complications related to her injury.

Clarkston Junior High dedicated the school's courtyard garden to Jenna's memory. Every Veteran's Day, students will add a stone to the garden honoring local veterans, including Jenna.

"My sincerest hope is that all students and community members who enter this school and look into that garden and see her picture take heed, think about what she has done, what she has given of herself. She was one of our own, and may we always remember her," Clarkston Junior High teacher Alex Sennabaum.

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