Dawn Potter is certain the Pine Strawberry School Builders Club’s Veterans Day tribute was a fitting salute to all who have served our country and also a valuable lesson to the students who participated. The tribute is called “The White Table.”
Potter, the Builders Club sponsor, explains “The White Table” tribute originated during the Vietnam War as a symbol of remembrance to service members held as prisoners of war or missing in action.
It is considered, “Solitary and solemn, as it is the table where no one will ever sit.”
The White Table has been set in mess halls, at military events and other facilities for more than 30 years. It is set to appreciate the depth of sacrifice each member of America’s armed forces is called to give, Potter said.
The Builders Club tribute began at 6 a.m. Veterans Day, Monday, Nov. 11, when members traveled to six restaurants in Pine and Strawberry setting up The White Table at each.
The tribute included:
A small table shows one soldier’s lonely battle against many.
The table is covered with a white cloth to honor a soldier’s pure heart when he answers his country’s call to duty.
A lemon slice and grains of salt on a plate to show a captive soldier’s bitter fate and the tears of families waiting for loved ones to return.
An empty chair pushed to the table for the missing soldiers who are not here.
A black napkin on the table is for the sorrow of captivity.
A turned over glass for the meal that won’t be eaten.
A white candle for peace is on the table, as is a red rose in a vase with red ribbon for the hope that all of our missing will return someday.
After setting the tribute tables early in the morning, Potter and the students returned that same evening to dismantle and store the items for next year.
The feedback she and the students received was staggering.
“At one of the restaurants, people actually requested to wait so they could sit next to the (White) Table,” Potter said. “At another establishment, the owner said that all day customers were buying drinks, walking over to the table and toasting lost friends and loved ones.”
Most importantly, the students wrapped up the tribute with new-found pride. “What started as a small gesture for us to honor the veterans ended up warming our hearts as well,” said Potter.
Building Club members include Kayla Schank, Mercedes Miranda, Bobbie Rose Price, Shaila Hein, Seth O’Neil and Maddy Abney.
Next on the Builders Club’s ambitious agenda is a food drive during which P/S students will be collecting non-perishable food items through Dec. 13. All food collected will benefit the Pine Strawberry Food Bank.
During the drive, classes at the school will compete to see which brings in the most food. The winning class receives a party.
A great holiday way to enhance the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library book collection is to visit the “Tree of Giving” that has been set up in the foyer of the library.
Once there, visitors simply select a book “ornament” to purchase, which will then be added to the library collection.
The tree ornaments contain the name of a pre-selected book and its price. Visitors can mull over the titles and prices, then choose the book they would like to buy and donate to the library.
The name of the donor will be etched on a bookplate and placed on the inside cover of the book.
Cash donations are also welcome.
All donations are tax deductible and the library is a 501(c)(3) organization.
Also at the Pine library, manager Becky Waer and her dedicated staff, which includes enthusiastic volunteers, there is a See’s Candy holiday fund-raising event.
Throughout the holidays, the library will sell a variety of scrumptious See’s Candies ranging from 4-ounce Santa gift boxes to the hefty 2-pound boxes of chocolates.
Another way to help out the library is to stop in and purchase raffle tickets for a holiday gift basket that contains $180 worth of See’s Candies — enough sweets to make the Tooth Fairy cringe.
Tickets are $5 for six or $10 for 15.
This comes from Ruthellen Mason of the Pine and Strawberry Arts and Crafts Guild:
“The Guild puts on three craft shows on holiday weekends each year with proceeds going to support other non-profit groups in Pine and Strawberry. This year the Guild was able to donate about $11,000 to help others in our community. Grants went to P/S School, CERCA, P/S Historical Society, Food Bank, P/S Firefighters Association, Library, and Tonto Rim Search and Rescue. We also supported the firewise trailer by providing extra space during our three shows so they were able to spread the word about fire danger in our beautiful area. The sheriff’s posse always receives our donations for the great service they provide for traffic control and security.
“Our shows are special by being the only local ones that are juried and allow only hand-crafted items and require the artist/crafter to be the one selling the product.
“A big thank you goes to the public for attending our craft shows and supporting our many crafters. Your support is what makes the vendors want to attend our shows year after year. They also spread the word to others, so we are always getting new things to see and add to the variety of offerings.
“Don’t forget to attend our Christmas Boutique, open Nov. 29 and 30 and Dec. 7 and 14. It is located in our arts and crafts room at the Pine Community Center on Hwy. 87. We are in the same building as the thrift store. All items are handmade by our talented members.”