Community honors veterans
Veterans, their families, students, and community leaders gathered on Monday, November 11, at the Butler County High School gymnasium as part of a community Veterans' Day program.
Butler County Schools' Superintendent Scott Howard kicked off the ceremony and welcomed those in attendance.
The Butler County High School NJROTC conducted the “parading of the colors” under the leadership of Chief Jim Melton.
Daniel Meredith of Belmont Christian Academy led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Ms. Hannah Embry, a BCMS teacher, performed the National Anthem, and the Butler County High School Chamber Choir, led by director Travis Lowe, sang "My Old Kentucky Home."
The invocation was given by Cody Russ, the youth pastor at Cool Springs Baptist Church.
Always a crowd favorite, the Butler County Preschoolers from Morgantown Elementary and North Butler Elementary sang "It's a Grand Ole Flag," while waving their flags.
The Buddy Poppy Good Citizens of the Year and Art for Heroes winners were announced by Sherry Webster of the VFW Post 5837 Auxiliary.
Buddy Poppy Good Citizen winners: Rebekah Graham, Evelyn Burdette, Reece Ingram, Arianna Forbes, Harley Proctor, and Eli Oaks.
The Young American Creative Patriotic Art winners:
Kindergarten - 1st Ian Hunt, 2nd Kasen Wester, 3rd Scarlett Fuller
First Grade- 1st Cameron Newcome, 2nd Anna Ingram, 3rd Carter Franklin
Second Grade- 1st Hudson Fuller, 2nd Ariannah Rife, 3rd Bradley Deweese
Third Grade- 1st Layla Stephano, 2nd Nirvana Wendle, 3rd Jazlyn Turner
Fourth Grade- 1st Thomas Embry, 2nd Sophie Minor, 3rd Ethyn Gill
Fifth Grade- 1st Konnor Hudson, 2nd Mae Givens, 3rd Reece Ingram
Honorable Mention- Lillian Jones, Lincoln Shumway, and Petrona Nicolas Santiaao
Ninth Grade- 1st Alexis White, 2nd Allie Baxter, 3rd Lela Thomason
Tenth Grade- 1st Nena Gann, 2nd Brody Hunt, 3rd Jamie Shepherd
Eleventh Grade- 1st Katlyn Beasley, 2nd Eden Boone, 3rd Paige Alford
Twelfth Grade- 1st Jessica Bruner, 2nd Camryn Newland
The Butler County Middle School Band, under the direction of Mr. Jordan Evans, performed "The Gettysburg Address" and arrangement by Michael Story.
Jennifer Odle of VFW Post 5837 Auxiliary recognized Mr. Bill Childress as the VFW Veteran of the Year.
Jane Smith recognized George Willis Givens and Donald Givens as the Butler County DAR Veterans of the Year.
Melanie Hunt recognized Mike Elmore as the Green River DAR Veteran of the Year.
The keynote speaker was retired Senior Chief Philip Stagner. He served in the United States Navy aboard the USS Chicago, USS Maine, USS Ohio, USS Tennessee, and the USS Archerfish. His duty stations include the Naval Submarine School in Connecticut, Trident Training Facility in Georgia as well as serving as the Commander of the Operational Test and Evaluation Force in Virginia and Commander Naval Personnel Command in Tennessee. Stagner retired from the Navy in 2006 and currently teaches at the Butler County Area Technology School.
Stagner spoke to the theme "Home of the free, land of the brave." He spoke of the months underwater in a submarine, missing birthdays and holidays with family, and reminded us all that freedom is not free, someone is paying the price today and every day.
"I have been around the world four or five times underwater," said Stagner. Service changes you, I saw death and was fearful.Your charge is when you see a veteran go up and shake their hand and give them a heartfelt thank you for their service.”
North Butler Elementary School's 4th and 5th Grade Class Dojo leaders, led by Mrs. Jennifer Scott, signed "God Bless the USA."
The Butler County Piecemakers, a group of quilters that make Quilts of Valor and presents them to veterans in our community, presented 17 quilts during the program. The recipients were: Sean Wilson, Jamey Elms, Deanna Embry, Essie Lee Embry, Robert Hill, Gus Vincent, Colonel Eddie Gillon, James E. Givens, Corey Miller, Mac Coleman, Commander Richard Stevenson, Phillip Stagner, Larry Blunk, Sheriff Scottie Ward, Dean Bartholomew, and Elmer Ray Havens.
Linda Tyree, an MES Counselor and organizer of the Veteran Program for the past 20 years, is retiring. The Butler County Piecemakers presented her with an extraordinary quilt with 20 blocks representing her twenty years of service, and the quilt contained a piece from every quilt they have made.
The BCHS Band, under the direction of Jason Ausbrooks, played a "Salute to America's Finest," which featured the armed service songs of each branch of service - U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and the U.S. Coast Guard. Flags from each branch of service were presented by Boy Scouts Troop #208.
Veteran Doug Odle read the names of veterans in attendance.
Bryant McClellan played "Taps" following a moment of silence, and the colors were retired by the BCHS NJROTC to wrap up the program.
A reception was held in the library following the program. The BCHS Culinary classes of Mrs. Ruthie Minton provided refreshments and served.