MAUMEE, Ohio — Gateway Middle School's 8th graders took time out of their day Wednesday to show appreciation to those protecting our nation.

Gateway Middle School history teacher Matt Smaltz and his students wanted to remember why 9/11 is important by writing letters. But they wanted the letters to focus on people from their community.  

Smaltz said that by writing the letters, the students are able to see that there are a lot of local civilians tasked with protecting our country.

"Many of these kids are post 9/11. They don't remember; it's pre-history to them. So just giving a day of service, a day of thanking those first responders - whether they're military or EMS or other things in our community - is really important. And it gives them a sense of giving back to the community that gives us a lot," he said. 

Smatlz said the students have been working for on the cards for two days - each one will go to people who have graduated from Maumee Schools. In total, they have made 100 cards with a personal and unique message.

The alumni who will receive the letters are in various parts of the world while some still live locally. The letters will be sent out this week.

MORE FROM WTOL: 

Local restaurant voluntarily closes after customer finds roach in food

Gateway Middle School holds lunch for first responders

What could happen if TPS receives a failing grade on Thursday's state report card

Call 11 for Action: Jerry City neighbors pleading for blighted yards to be cleaned up