Dillon and Tyler (courtesy photo)
Local organizations recognized Seton Catholic Preparatory juniors Dillon Shipley and Tyler Creech for their salutes to veterans, particularly those who served in Vietnam. (courtesy photo)

Two Seton Catholic Preparatory students went above and beyond the Chandler school’s annual recitation of the Rosary for the U.S.A. on Veteran’s Day. The Rosary prays in particular for the military and each branch of government.

Dillon Shipley, a junior, was the first-place winner of the annual Phoenix Veterans Day Parade essay contest. Shipley drew upon the experience of his uncle, a Vietnam veteran, for his essay, “DEROS,” which stands for Date Eligible for Return from Overseas. That date kept troops going.

Read Shipley’s essay

“As his time got closer, he created a plan to take the cash that he had, $1,300, to buy a motorcycle and tour the country,” Shipley wrote. His uncle was former 2nd Lieutenant Rick West.

Shipley described his uncle’s flight to the U.S. on a packed “Freedom Bird” and his joy at arriving at his Illinois home. The planned motorcycle adventure, however, would have to wait: Within a week, West found work as an attorney.

Americans today are proud of those who served in the once unpopular war, Shipley said, concluding the essay with, “Welcome home, Vietnam Veterans. Your DEROS is today.”

Shipley received a cash prize and will ride in Phoenix’s Veterans Day parade. This is the third consecutive year that Seton students have won or placed in the essay contest, which is open to Maricopa County high school students.

Tyler Creech, also a junior, recently spoke at a East Valley chapter meeting of the Vietnam Veterans of America and performed the National Anthem. Members presented him with a commemorative medal honoring him as a partner.

Creech said it was an honor to sing the Anthem for veterans and will perform it at Seton’s fourth annual “Tribute to Veterans,” which begins at 8:15 a.m. Friday, Nov. 11 (Veterans Day) at the school.