On November 6th, a portion of the community gathered together to honor our veterans, here in Valparaiso. The event was organized by the Valpo Kiwanis club and held at the banquet hall, Strongbow.
“To my knowledge, we’re the first club in the area to hold an annual event for our veterans,” said Jon Groth, veteran and Kiwanis club member. “And we’ve been doing it for twenty-two years.”
There were not only veterans in attendance. The Thomas Jefferson Middle School Band played many patriotic songs for everyone gathered. Not only did they play the National Anthem, the band also played the songs of the Armed Forces.
After the band finished, a video, produced by the Porter County Career and Technical Center, was played to remember a young man who passed away overseas defending our country. Everyone reflected on the hero, Jim Butz, during a moment of silence to respect his heroic gesture of trying to save some of his fellow soldiers.
Shortly thereafter, Barb Claypool, a retired Colonel of the Air Force, spoke about the program and advancements in identifying remains of soldiers. This work brings more comfort to the families of those who defended the nation with their lives. She showed a very touching slideshow of some of the fighting men that would not have been identified otherwise.
Upon finishing her speech, a representative of Senator Joe Donnelly, Justin Mount, presented Lt. Col. Barbra Claypool with a flag that hung over our nation’s capitol. Then to close the ceremony out, the Thomas Jefferson Middle School Band played “God Bless America” for all the veterans and attendees to enjoy.