By Wade Linville –
Just before the Eastern Lady Warriors varsity basketball squad took the court to face Miami Trace on Thursday, Jan. 25, the Eastern School District took time to honor its local U.S. Veterans. The calling was Veterans Night at Eastern High School with approximately 20 veterans of Brown County being escorted to the court by high school players as they were introduced by EHS Athletic Director Jerod Jodrey.
Jodrey also asked all veterans in the stands to stand up and be recognized for their service.
The microphone was then handed over to guest speaker and U.S. Navy Veteran Ed Bailey, a member of the EHS Alumni.
“We answered our nation’s call and did our part,” Bailey said of veterans while reflecting on conflicts that the United States has been involved in from the early 1960’s to the current war on terrorism.
Bailey went on to discuss how he was fortunate to have been part of the Brown County H.E.R.O Tribute that brought the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Traveling Wall to the county, creating the plaques for the families of Brown County residents who died serving their country in the Vietnam War.
Bailey was later asked to make plaques honoring the two fallen veterans who are graduates of Eastern High School to help create the school district’s Veterans Wall mural, which was unveiled following the Veterans Night Ceremony on Jan. 25.
The new Veterans Wall consists of two wooden plaques, made by Bailey, honoring U.S. Army Veteran Danny R. King (SP-4), a 1969 EHS graduate who was killed in action on June 2, 1971 while serving his country in the Vietnam War; and U.S. Army Veteran Seth Blevins (SP-4), a 2008 EHS graduate who was killed in action on May 23, 2011 while serving his country in Afghanistan.
The painting of the Veterans Wall was done by Eastern art students.
Among those there to witness the unveiling of the newly created EHS Veterans Wall were family members of the late Danny King and Seth Blevins, including Danny King’s brother, Michael King, and Seth Blevins’ father, Steve Blevins.
Emotions ran high as the family members of the fallen soldiers witnessed Bailey unveil the EHS Veterans Wall, a mural that will remind everyone who passes through the hallway near the high school entrance of the sacrifices they made.
“This veteran memorial is here at the high school to remember both of the Eastern High School graduates who were killed in action,” said Bailey. “As everyone leaves the building tonight, I would like for you to stop, and just think of those two high school graduates who gave all in their service to protect our freedoms that we have for today. Also reflect on the tens-of-thousands of men and women who have served from the Revolutionary War to the current war on terrorism in the deserts of the Middle East. They allow us to enjoy the many freedoms we enjoy every day.”
“God Bless America,” said Bailey as he ended his speech, which was followed by a standing ovation from the crowd in honor of U.S. Veterans.
Veterans of Brown County taking the court to be recognized during the EHS Veterans Night included Bailey, Don Pursley (Ohio Army National Guard), Jim Sowers (Army), Jeff Reynolds (Army), Tom Farris (Marines), Elmer Black (Marines), Bob Rau (Army), Todd Evans (Army and Air Force), Dean Dotson (Marines), Donald Thomas (Navy), Phillie Dotson (Air Force), Gary Noble (Navy), Floyd Morris (Air Force), Maynord Naylor (Army), Richard Fultz (Marines), Frank Edmisten (Army), Keith Moore (Army), and Jeff Naylor (Army).
“These are the heroes of our great country,” Jodrey said of the veterans in attendance.
Present the colors for the Veterans Night Ceremony were members of the Ripley-Union-Lewis-Huntington High School JROTC program.
The EHS Veterans Night Ceremony was sponsored by Tankers Petroleum of Sardinia, Mt. Orab Kroger, Butterbees of Mt. Orab, LaRosa’s of Mt. Orab, Dunkin Donuts, Country Diner of Sardinia, and The Outpost of Sardinia.