To the editor:
Despite the cool weather, the 35th McCartyville St. Patrick’s Day Celebration was probably our most successful and rewarding. And it was all due to our recognition of the Vietnam vets. When we decided to honor the 50 year anniversary of many of these vets being drafted due to Vietnam, we had no idea how powerful and special this event would become.
The committee decided to have special shirts for each of the over 50 Vietnam vets from our area. They were provided by Adam and Diane Reiss. Additionally, shirts could be bought from members of our community to show our support. Over 500 shirts were sold.
Friday night at the fish fry attended by over 400 people, retired Colonel Mike Bennett, of McCartyville, called each vet forward. As the vets and all faced the flag and sang the national anthem, it was one powerful moment.
The Vietnam vets are really being recognized nationally, but as one vet said, “It is special to be honored by your local community.”
This was a special night for both the vets and our community.
The jog had about 75 people in attendance. The vets were half-heartedly asked if they wanted to march in formation for the 3 miles, but they declined.
Craig Hoying, of McCartyville, was first at 19 minutes, 30 seconds. Lane Eilerman was the second male; Tim Walters was third. The first female was Danielle Alexander at 20:47. Emma Gehret was the second female; Jadyn Huber was third.
The parade was our largest ever with 47 units. Special thanks to the Vietnam Vets from Versailles for bringing the Deuce and a Half and other Army vehicles; Chuck Ray for the Humvees; the Wells Brothers for providing transportation for the vets; and the Precision St. Patrick’s Day Drill Team led by Ron Albers.
Special thanks to Ted Berning and the Knights of Columbus for the fish fry of over 800 pounds of fish provided. Special thanks to the St. Patrick’s Day Committee, especially Dave Poeppelman and Kate (Hoying) Geiss for contacting the vets; Derek Berning for providing green light bulbs for each house in the community to show our support.
-And of course, the Vietnam vets. Thanks for your service.
P.S. The golf event had over 100 people participate; very sucessful.
Larry L. Huecker