GEORGETOWN, Del.- Students at Sussex Tech High School gave a warm welcome to pay tribute to veterans and their families throughout Sussex County.

More than 70 veterans and service members came to Sussex Tech on Friday morning to be recognized by the whole student body. Veterans and their families processed into the auditorium where the student band and chorus performed for everyone.

Master Sgt. Robert Kelley, who serves in the US Air Force Reserve, was deployed for seven months in southeast Asia. He returned home in May when he surprised his daughter on her birthday. His daughter Rebecca was at her cheer competition in Virginia Beach, when she was reunited with her dad. It was a birthday gift that Rebecca will never forget. There was more celebration Friday as Kelley was honored by his daughter and her fellow classmates. Kelley says supporting Rebecca and his country are his life's mission. 

"They ask me why I do it, and I do it because I want my daughter to have a choice and not have to be in a draft. I want her to have that choice and its very important to me to represent the state of Delaware and coming together here," says Kelley. 

Many veterans are family members of Sussex Tech students. They came out from all parts of the east coast to make Friday's event extra special. 

"We had them coming up from North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. Some of them have traveled a long way this morning and said it was well worth the drive," says Sussex Tech Superintendent Stephen Guthrie.

Guthrie says not only was this a event a way to commemorate veterans, but a way to inform students on honoring veterans on a daily basis.

"We not only want to honor veterans but we want to help our students understand the importance of honoring veterans. These people sacrifice part of their lives to go into service to protect our freedom and keep our country safe," explains Guthrie. 

Evie Justice was one of the many students joined by veterans in her family. Connie Justice, Evie's grandmother, says being in a military family has its rough moments at times, but this day makes it all worth it. 

"My husband was deployed to Vietnam and I was there the day he left. It was a long year but he's been so patriotic and so loving for this country. He did it for our grand daughter so she could see and learn from it," says Justice. 

The Delaware Quilts of Valor Group also honored Delaware Commissioner of Veterans Affairs Lawrence Kirby with a handmade quilt for his time and service.