Veterans Day was observed here during the past week with numerous programs, ceremonies, assemblies and dinners honoring our country’s active servicemen and veterans.
Emerson Climate Technologies (Copeland) got the ball rolling last Thursday afternoon when Ed Purvis, CEO of Emerson Climate Technologies, Sidney, Ohio, came to Ava to present a special award to an Ava employee.
That award, the Thomas E. Bettcher Community Service Award, was given to Nancy Crain, during a plant-wide gathering of Emerson employees.
Crain is a 35-year Emerson employee who, for over a decade, has prepared care packages for servicemen overseas, along with supporting fundraisers for Wounded Warrior Project and Ozarks Honor Flight.
In presenting the Bettcher Award to Crain, Purvis said, “The world needs a whole lot more people like Nancy.”
Also visiting the Ava plant from Sidney was Scott Evans, vice president of operations; and from Lebanon, Keith Calhoun, director of Missouri Operations.
Others invited to attend the meeting on Thursday afternoon were service personnel and/or family members including: Scott Adams, U.S. Army retired; Walter Thorne, U.S. Army National Guard; Joey Neal, U.S. Army; Rosie Barnes, representing her son-in-law, Phil Little, U.S. Army; Margaret Rousseau, representing her grandson, Brentlyn Bishop, U.S. Army; Amanda Gage, U.S. Army Reserves; Derald Wright, U.S. Army retired; Jim and Shawna Mills, representing their son, Brandon Mills, U.S. Army Reserves; B.J. and Eunice Evans, representing their son, Bruce Evans, and grandson, Jacob Evans; and Steve Walker, representing Dana Walker, United States Air Force.
After the special award was presented to Crain, checks were also presented to Rachel Braskett, Honor Flight of the Ozarks; and Derald Wright, on behalf of the Wounded Warriors Project.
Ed Purvis was introduced by Ava Plant Manager James Barnett.
Ava Victory Academy hosted a luncheon on Sunday for all veterans of the community and their families, and Ava High School, Ava Elementary School, Skyline R-2 and Bradleyville schools held assemblies honoring veterans. Plainview R-8 School invited veterans to come eat lunch with the students, and Ava Elementary School invited veterans to eat breakfast with the students on Tuesday morning.
At 11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 11, Troy Herd American Legion Post 112 and Ava VFW hosted the traditional Veterans Day program at the Ava Cemetery.
Despite the cold, blustery wind, several local residents attended the ceremony.
Keynote speaker was Ava native and Ava High School graduate Scott Huffman, retired chief warrant officer, U.S. Marine Corps.
CWO Huffman commented on the sacrifices made by the families of those who have served in combat.
“My grandmother and grandfather never got over the loss of their son (Scott’s uncle) who made the ultimate sacrifice to this country in 1945.”
Huffman also said he wanted to recognize those who had the desire to serve their country but were turned down for medical conditions or some other reason.
Like so many others, Huffman spoke to the fact that those who served in combat in World War I, World War II and Vietnam, never talked about their combat experiences.
They talked about “the trip over and the trip back”, he said. They would mention being in England or France, but other than that they didn’t say much about their war experiences.
Huffman said that as he watched the students perform at Ava Victory Academy at Sunday’s program he realized why he and all the other veterans served. “We served for the future of the United States of America and for better days ahead.”
Prior to Huffman’s presentation on Tuesday Bobby Page sang, “God Bless the U.S.A.” As the program concluded, wreaths were laid at the Veteran’s Memorial in the cemetery by members of the American Legion and VFW auxiliaries, in recognition of all veterans.