— By CHRISTIN COYNE | firstname.lastname@example.org
Dressed in fatigues and standing outside David Crockett Elementary Friday morning under flags flown at half staff, U.S. Army veteran Marcus Britt opened doors for volunteers and parents with hands full of items for student Christmas parties and posed for pictures with students and adults.
Like several other veterans who inspired his watch by doing the same across the United States during the past week, Britt said he wanted to help ease minds after the Newtown, Conn., elementary school mass killing a week prior and subsequent reports of possible threats at other U.S. schools.
“The kids were kind of scared to come back,” Britt said of his family’s reaction to the previous week’s events.
“I never grew up in fear of anything,” Britt said. “I don’t want my kids to grow up in fear.”
When he saw news coverage of the other veterans’ efforts, Britt said he was touched.
Britt, whose 8-year-old and 10-year-old daughters attend Crockett, came up to the school and asked if he could act as a greeter to help ease the minds of children and parents, Weatherford ISD spokesman Derik Moore said, who added that Britt has served as a comforting presence at the school during the one-week anniversary of the Connecticut tragedy as well as the reported Mayan calendar end.
“I have kids that go here,” Britt said. “I want them to know that everybody’s safe.”
Britt said he wants people at the school to know they don’t have to live in fear and can live normally.
His own experiences serving in the military for seven years in places such as Baghdad have affected him, making it difficult to keep a job since he got out in June 2011, according to Britt.
With the time to do it, Britt said he expects to continue volunteering at the school after the holiday break.
Britt has also received an outpouring of support from parents and others at the school.
Many passing by late Friday morning thanked him or told him “God bless you.”
“I’ve been trying to tell them, ‘I’m honored to do it,’” Britt said.
Others brought hot chocolate or offered to buy him lunch.
Several asked for pictures with the veteran.
Some children have approached him saying things that have left him not knowing what to say back, Britt said. “They tell me, ‘Thank you for saving my family.’”