YORKVILLE — A Veterans Day program was held at Buckeye Local High School Nov. 8. Those attending included the Jefferson County Veterans Association, American Legion Dillonvale Post 529, Piney Fork Post 735, Adena Post 525 and Brilliant Post 573.
In a united effort, the groups donated new military service flags which included the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy and Space Force.
In addition, the association and posts donated poles, stands and eagle finials to be dedicated. The veterans administered a 50-question American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary Americanism and government program examination to students in all grades. The highest-scoring male and female in each grade was awarded either a $50 cash card or cash, along with an American Legion pin. Winners were announced during the assembly, stated Barry Bardone, Jefferson County Veterans adjutant. They included, Derek Porter, Shyla Humphrey, Kamden Kinyo, Emerson Boyce, Noah Jack, Lena Anderson, Brady Kalman and Elizabeth Stock. The Spirit of America essay winners were Thomas Bednarek and Lizzie Stock. The Brilliant American Legion Post 573 assists Buckeye Local students with sholarships.
Post Commander Deb Gilchrist said two $1,000 scholarships will be disbursed to eligible seniors who meet the criteria, which includes planning to attend an accredited college, community college or university, being a child or grandchild of a veteran, taken the American Legion Americanism test and applied to attend Buckeye Boys and Girls State conferences. The application deadline is April 1. Scholarships will be given during the spring commencement exercises.
“We want to give back and one way is through scholarships,” she continued. “This is our first year. A couple of years ago, we weren’t sure we’d be open. COVID did us a favor and we were able to regroup. We have a lot of programs and donations coming from the community. We will share our good fortune with the students and are offering two $1,000 scholarships.”
The post has 103 members and has assisted veterans, students and other community members through its projects. It holds dinners that are open to all vets and works with the Brilliant Volunteer Fire Department to deliver take out meals to those who can’t attend,” she added.
Parsons stated he was extremely thankful for the contribution of the scholarships.
Veteran representatives who attended the program included, Bardone; Tony Phillippi, financial officer, JCVA, American Legion Piney Fork Post 735; Barbara Baird, JCVA, Dillonvale Post 529; Michelle Hedgecoke, JCVA, Dillonvale Post 529; Luke Parsons, Buckeye Local High School principal; Deb Gilchrist, Brilliant Post 573; Rodney Roe, sheriff’s deputy,Brilliant Post 573; Mark Anderson, Adena Post 525; John Gunsorek, Adena Post 525; Tom McCain, commander, Piney Fork Post 735; and Bill Smythe, JCVA, Brilliant Post 573.
The JCVA then held its annual Veterans Day program at Friendship Park in Smithfield on Nov. 10. Former Jefferson County Commissioner Tom Graham opened the program by singing the national anthem and closed with “America the Beautiful.”
The event’s main speaker was Bardone, who presented essays on four combat veterans he had spoken to and interviewed. Combat medic John Kennedy, who served in Vietnam, Jim McCain and Howard Clutter, Marines who landed the first day of fighting on Iwo Jima, and Combat medic Bill Apesos, who landed with the first wave on Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
Bardone displayed artifacts, including a Japanese prayer and good-luck Hachimaki headband, secured from Guadalcanal by Len Masci; a Japanese work shirt and sergeant insignia, secured from Iwo Jima by Howard Clutter; and shrapnel from Iwo Jima and German Luftwaffe officer’s identification book.