Grateful veteran expresses his appreciation to community

To the editor:

I recently had the privilege of making the trip to Washington, D.C. I would like to thank my sponsors, Emerson Climate Technologies and the Fort Greenville Chapter of DAR.

The initial banquet was held at the VFW where each vet was presented with a beautiful cane from the Shelby County Carvers. At the fairgrounds on our departure day, we were given a nice sendoff from Mayor Mike Barhorst and Shelby County Commissioner Julie Ehemann. We had a large motorcycle escort, along with Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies and Sidney policemen. Fair Road and Fourth Avenue were lined with family, friends, students and factory workers. Mike Bennett has assembled a group of very dedicated, hardworking volunteers who made the trip so enjoyable and successful.

There was “mail call” on the bus and we were given letters from family and friends, all of the volunteers, and many students from Shelby County schools. Those made me proud to see that young Americans care about their country and veterans.

On this trip, we had two great bus drivers who got us safely to D.C. and back home. We also had a nurse on each bus to take care of any problems that might come up. I would like to thank the Spot Restaurant for the nice lunch we ate on our stop in Pennsylvania. Also, a special thanks to Melanie Speicher of the Sidney Daily News who accompanied us on the trip and the great coverage in the newspaper. A very special thanks to my caregiver and trip photographer, Duane Mullen.

After returning home, I put together in an album containing all the letters I received from mail call and the pictures that I took. This is now one of my prize possessions. It was 48 years ago in September that I returned from Vietnam. Nothing that day or since has had an effect on me emotionally as this trip did. I will never forget everyone involved with the trip and could never thank them enough. I have always been very patriotic and proud of service to my country. God bless America.

A very grateful veteran,

John R. Barger