CHESNEE, S.C. (WSPA) — An act of kindness and tons of gratitude spearheaded by students at Chesnee Middle School raised thousands of dollars to help change the lives of veterans.

During the week of Veteran’s Day, Chesnee Middle School students and staff collected donations for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Students brought in money and donations from home and each day faculty were in the car line to collect donations from the community. 

On the final day of the donation drive, students were able to purchase items from the school snack cart to help raise more money for the veterans. A total of $2000 was raised as a result of these efforts.

“They really dug deep and it shows the heart of our kids. We want them to be an Eagle. We want them to give respect, lead by example and encourage positive attitudes. This just goes to show that they really have that in their heart,” Laura Wyatt, principal at Chesnee Middle School, said.

Cindy Parsons, a national spokesperson with the Wounded Warrior Project, visited the campus to speak with students about how their donation will help injured Veterans. 

“It helps them just with daily active living skills and programs such as Warriors to Work,” Parsons said, “The most important part is collaborating with each other and bringing our warriors together. That’s what helps them heal especially during this holiday season. It’s so vital.”

Parsons also shared her own Wounded Warrior story.

While deployed in Iraq in 2006, Parson’s son, Shane and his convoy was hit with an improvised explosive device (IED). Shane suffered several injuries, including multiple cardiac arrests, a severe traumatic brain injury, a severed left leg and an amputation of his right leg. 

Parsons left her job as a registered nurse and flew across the world to be with her son while he underwent 15 surgeries and battled multiple infections

For the next decade, Cindy served as Shane’s primary caregiver and learned first-hand the challenges faced by the family members of injured veterans. Her passion for helping others led her to become a strong advocate for the family support members of other wounded warriors. 

In 2009, Cindy helped Wounded Warrior Project lobby Congress for the passage of the Caregiver and Veteran Omnibus Health Service Act of 2010, a bill providing assistance and support for caregivers of injured servicemen and women returning from war.

During her visit with Chesnee Middle School students, Parsons presented the school with a special flag to honor their efforts.

“I think with the students coming together and honoring their courage it means so much to not only our alumni and warrior but the families as well,” Parsons said.

For more information on the Wounded Warrior Project, visit their website.