Local News

Chapel Hill students raise money to send WWII vets back to Normandy for D-Day anniversary

Posted February 2, 2019 6:53 p.m. EST
Updated February 2, 2019 10:20 p.m. EST

— This year marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day and a very special group of high school students are trying to make sure veterans who walked the beaches of Normandy can return.

Six students from Chapel Hill High School and East Chapel Hill High School have been fundraising to send two World War II veterans back to Normandy, France.

“I’m Jewish, so I’ve always known a lot about World War II affecting my family in a different way than most. I just was so excited when I got the opportunity to honor these heroes that saved my relatives,” student Elena Lowinger said. “It’s a really special opportunity that I have.”

The students have sacrificed their weekends and free time to raise the money, but they said the sacrifice pales in comparison to the ones veterans made.

"To think that that person would give up everything, their family, their career, what they wanted to do to go sacrifice themselves for people they don't even know, it's just really incredible and really selfless," student Kaelyn Elien said.

History has jumped off the pages and into the students' lives after meeting World War II veteran George Chall. Just talking about him brings a smile to their faces.

"Mr Chall, he's just a superhuman being, an amazing person," Elien said.

Chall, now 95 years old, was a medic in World War II. He is one of the veterans who will be heading back to Normandy.

"My main job was saving lives," he said. "It's very exciting, but it's also deeply moving and it also brings back so many memories."

The students have already raised about $9,000 and were hoping to add to that total Saturday night. Their goal is to raise $25,000.