MOUNT GILEAD — The Veterans Day program at the 171st Morrow County Fair paid tribute to Morrow County veterans and a special presentation was made to Daniel Fricke as Veteran of the Year.
Chaplin Lawrence Combs opened the program invocation on a somber note with a remembrance of the 13 servicemen who lost their lives in the recent bombing in Afghanistan.
Program Emcee Ric Lyle presented the Veteran of the Year award to Fricke as his wife Connie looked on.
Morrow County Commissioner Tim Siegfried told how Fricke formed the VFW Post 8054 Honor Guard more than 45 years ago. The Honor Guard is present at veterans’ funerals, parades and veterans’ events throughout the year and all around the county.
The Honor Guard also assures that every veteran’s family has a final salute at the graveside service. Fricke has been active in both organizing and participating in the Honor Guard’s activities from the beginning.
Representative of the Morrow County Quilting Guild, Cheryl Jason presented Fricke with a quilt made by the guild. She thanked him for his service as a veteran and service to the community.
Retired Morrow County Engineer Randy Bush spoke about Fricke’s career in the County Engineer’s office. Both he and Fricke started in the department in 1974.
Bush said that he and Fricke began the tradition of Cub Scouts placing flags at veterans’ graves in the cemetery. He would often see Fricke with an arm full of flags going around the cemetery making sure no veteran was overlooked and every veteran’s grave had a flag.
“Let’s never forget the service of veterans,” Fricke said after accepting the award.
“Honoring veterans’ service is one of the most important things we do in this country.”
“Keep up the good work,” Fricke said to the Honor Guard who saluted him.
The Posting of the Wreath was done by American Legion Post 97 Auxiliary in memory of those missing in Action and those who gave their lives in war. Mark Melroy played the haunting tune “The Unknown Soldier” on the bagpipes.
Morrow County Veterans Service Director, Darci Hendrickson read “I am a Veteran.” Hendrickson served in the Air Force and the reading speaks of the experience of the veteran.
Speaker Brianna Woods, Company Commander of Highland NJROTC, gave recognition and thanks to all veterans who were present. She asked all veterans to stand and thanked them for their service and said their dedication is an inspiration to her.
Commander of Morrow County Joint Veterans Council, Bruce Fissell, gave the roll call of veterans, beginning with World War II through Afghanistan.
Fissell noted the oldest veteran present was Ray Brenneman, who is 97 years old. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II.
The Highland High School Marching Band directed by Amy Arnett played a medley of patriotic music, which was interspersed throughout the program.
Music included the National Anthem, Patriotic Parade, Salute to America’s Finest and ended with the echoing notes of Taps.