Former POW visits Melissa High School, shares connection to Harry E. McKillop


Nov 2019
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Pictured above: Ashley Vasquez, Julie Wooten, Rebecca S. McKillop, Isaiah Hamilton, James E. Ray, Kenneth Wooten, and Jacob Bergthold.

Col. James E. Ray, decorated veteran of the United States Air Force and former prisoner of war, visited Melissa High School on Thursday, Nov. 7 to speak to students in the junior and senior classes.

James Ray speaks about his time as a POW

James Ray speaks about his time as a prisoner of war.

Ray spoke about his experience as prisoner of war during the late sixties and early seventies. He shared how Henry Ross Perot and Harry E. McKillop impacted his life and the lives of countless others. McKillop is the namesake of Harry McKillop Elementary, which many students in the audience attended in elementary school.

In sharing his story, Ray encouraged students to stand up and help out when the opportunity arises.

“Whenever someone is being mistreated and you have an opportunity to volunteer to take an action that will make a difference, as Harry McKillop and Ross Perot did, I want you to be willing to do that,” Ray said.

Following the presentation, students were invited to ask questions and Ray responded with more insight into his military career.

Col. James E. Ray was introduced by junior Thad Baker. McKillop’s wife and fellow Air Force veteran, Rebecca S. McKillop was also in attendance. The presentation was organized by Julie Wooten, Academic Dean of Social Studies at Melissa High School.

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Media Contact:
Maddie Coe, Director of Communications

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