MOUNT GILEAD — Anyone who knows Bruce Fissell knows he likes to talk.
But he had a difficult time finding the words after he received a surprise honor Tuesday afternoon at the Morrow County Fair’s annual veterans tribute.
“This is tremendous,” Fissell said as he gathered himself after Frank Hickman’s announcement.
“As we say in our legion preamble, for God and country. I’m overwhelmed. Thank you,” he said.
Hickman and Fulton Mayor Terri Cox Hickman presented Fissell with a certificate of recognition and Morrow County Commissioner Warren Davis read a proclamation.
“This couldn’t go to a better person,” Cox Hickman said. “He’s done so much for Fulton and for veterans in the county.”
Fissell is a member of the Morrow County Joint Veterans Council and has worked on many local projects to benefit veterans. He is a 32-year member of the American Legion.
“He has served his country and the community,” said Hickman, who served as master of ceremonies for the event in the Commercial Building.
Fissell was mayor of the village of Fulton for 10 years and coached Little League and Pee-Wee baseball for many years. Recently, he’s helped with the downtown Mount Gilead veterans banner project and the upcoming Victory Shaft Centennial Celebration.
He was joined by his wife Belva and sons Steve and Brent.
Hickman welcomed the crowd and recognized all veterans in attendance.
Chaplain Lawrence Combs gave the invocation.
“We are grateful for their commitment. Many of their comrades gave their lives on land, at sea and in the air.”
Lt. Commander Brooklyn Baird of the Highland Naval ROTC was guest speaker.
“When I think of a veteran, I think of a hero. They were prepared and willing to make the ultimate sacrifice,” she said.
Beyond serving their country, Baird said veterans do a great deal more.
“They build our community up and make us stronger. They’re brave, strong and willing to take new challenges head-on,” she said. “There are many more veterans in our county that we don’t know about. Thank them if you get the opportunity.”
World War II veteran Ray Brenneman was recognized as the oldest veteran there.
The Highland High School band, under the direction of Amy Arnett, performed the national anthem and a medley of songs in Patriotic Parade Sequence. American Legion Post 97 Auxiliary performed the posting of the wreath in honor of all veterans.