SIDNEY — They stood tall and proud as the Senior Center Choir sang the Armed Forces medley during Monday night’s Veterans’ Day at the Shelby County Fair program. Air Force, Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines — more than 80 veterans were recognized during the program.
“Welcome to the 34th annual Veterans Day program at the fair,” said Jerry Smith, fair board representative and U.S. Army veteran.
Zach Bosslett, a veteran of the U.S. Army and a member of the Shelby County Veterans Service Commission, was the speaker for the evening. A 25-year resident of Shelby County, he and his wife are the parents of three children. He currently works for Dannon Co.
“I was happy to serve my country in the Army,” he said. Bosslett served from 2002 to 2005 in the Army. He was also in the Ohio National Guard for six years.
“I never embraced what it meant to be a veteran until got out,” he said. He is active in AMVETS and was asked to join the Veterans Service Commission. He is currently president of the commission.
“There are three full time employees at the office. We advocate full time for the almost 3,500 veterans in Shelby County.”
He said the staff members are there to assist veterans in anyway they can.
“That’s what we’re there for,” said Bosslett. “We have a significant budget (to assist veterans) and we don’t want to give any of it back.
“We’ll help as many veterans as we can who walk through the door,” he said.
Bosslett said he had a couple of requests for all the veterans present at the ceremony.
“If you are a veteran, or a surviving spouse of a veteran, talk to the people in the office. We want to make sure you’re being taken care of.
“We’re not the VA but we can help you navigate their paperwork,” he said. “You’ll ask us questions and our team will ask you questions back.”
Bosslett said each veteran should register with the VA whether they have service related claims or not.
“This lets the local office know how many veterans are are in the area,” he said.
Bosslett also encouraged every veteran to join a veterans or service organization.
“The biggest thing is for you to get involved,” said Bosslett. “The biggest thing I missed when I left the service was the camaraderie you have with each other. I see a lot of veterans in this tent. I’m one of the youngest ones here. Reach out and talk to younger veterans.”
And get them involved in the various organizations, said Bosslett.
“Thank you fellow veterans,” he said. “if you see them wearing a hat … or bracelet. I saw a woman with a T-shirt on that said she was an Army mom. I asked her about it and she said he had been in the Army for nine months.”
The woman, said Bosslett, went on to say she has three other children who are all in the military: one in the Marines, one in the Air Force and one in the Navy.
“It takes a mom like that to get us where we are today,” said Bosslett. “Thank you very much for all you’ve done for us.”
Duane Mullen, chaplain with VFW Post 4239 gave the opening prayer and benediction. Fairlawn School students Avery North and Julia Huelskamp led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance. American Legion Post 217 rendered the salute to fallen comrades and played taps.
The Senior Center Choir also performed the “National Anthem,” “Thank You Soldiers,” “Let Freedom Ring” and “God Bless America.”
The various posts provided the Color Guard. Fair haven provided the refreshments for the event. Chris North, Veterans Service officer, was the master of ceremonies.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.