UNSUNG HERO: William Grafton's Veterans Breakfast - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

UNSUNG HERO: William Grafton's Veterans Breakfast

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STEELVEVILLE --  In this week's Unsung Hero, a Randolph County Science teacher is making a difference with his students and his staff. Every year, William Grafton puts on a big breakfast for our nation's heroes around Veterans Day. 
His students say, of all the educational and exciting events he plans throughout the year feeding veteran's is the most rewarding

High school teacher William Grafton grew up loving Science. He's been teaching Steeleville students his passion for the last 23-years.

"My sister is a Science Teacher as well. I think she had a lot of influence on me when I was growing up," said Mr. Grafton. 

That same passion has spilled over to many of his students. About 85 teens signed up for Science Club this year, including Senior and club president Julia Neipert.

"Once I joined Science Club, I was just in love with how it's run and what we do," said Julia.     

Julia said Mr. Grafton keeps the club very active from field trips, to food drives to the student's favorite activity, feeding the veteran's breakfast around the Veterans Day holiday.

"It's the best experience of high school I think I've had," said Julia.

About seven years ago, Mr. Grafton and friend Byron Vinyard wanted to give students an opportunity to give back to our nation's heroes.

"He brought his stoves from 1945 and we cooked all the meals outside in these stoves," said Mr. Grafton.

This year, more than 40 students helped prepare breakfast for local veterans at the American Legion.

"Byron also has a display that consists of memorabilia, uniforms, guns and all kinds of stuff," added Mr. Grafton. 

The veterans are served fresh eggs, toast, pancakes and biscuits and gravy donated by the local Casey's General Store.

"They're getting a real piece of history and I hope it has a very strong impact on them as far as who they are as a person and their overall values," Mr. Grafton.
Julia said many of them have shared with her stories from their time in the military. 

"You really realize they have given everything for us and we don't see it every day, but it's the one day we can give back to them."  
She said she's learned a lot academically, but when she graduates, she'll remember most the impact her science teacher had on her the last four years.

"The lessons he teaches us about being a good person and how to help others is what really stuck with me." 

She even plans to come back next year just for the veterans breakfast.

"I'm more than grateful for everything that he's done and I plan on continuing taking his lessons and spreading it to other people," said Julia. 

"I want them to understand the importance of being good people in society and looking out for your neighbor and taking care of people and not having any expectation of anything in return," added Mr. Grafton. 

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