On Nov. 7, members of the East Clinton Great Oaks FFA Chapter hosted veterans and families at East Clinton High School. Members gathered and gave the veterans a full breakfast buffet and refreshments.
The annual Veterans Day assembly started off with a warm welcome to guests from chapter president Sydney Beiting. American Legion Wilmington Honor Guard Post #49 posted the colors, and the East Clinton Astro Notes performed the Star-Spangled Banner, directed by Laura Brown.
The vice president, Payton Spurlock, provided a brief history about Veterans Day, and then Hadlie Clark and Jacob George went on to introduce the branches of the military: Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, National Guard, and Space Force. Each branch was recognized and honored at that time.
Afterwards, Payton Spurlock and Anna Lopez came forward to explain the MIA/POW table and its origin. The demonstration was done by Mitchell Ellis, Karsyn Jamison, Emily Arnold, and Preston Dickson. Syndey Beiting then introduced the East Clinton Wind Ensemble, and they performed the “Mansions of the Lord.”
Dylan Arnold and Owen Robberts had the honor of reading the passage about the American flag, including the meaning behind each of the 13 folds. Kale Boeckmann, Maddix Crowe, and Max Crowe demonstrated the folds to the American flag.
FFA members Kami Kile, Katie Fraley, and Owen Roberts created a slideshow presentation dedicated to honoring all the veterans in attendance.
Anna Lopez came forward to share a personal story that she had written about why Veterans Day was important to her.
Lastly, but surely not least, the guest speaker, Joe Noland, spoke about Veterans Day and his experiences. Noland was born and raised in Wilmington. He graduated from Wilmington High School in 1985. Following graduation, Noland enlisted in the US Air Force (USAF) and received training in the security police field.
He was stationed in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Comiso, Italy (Sicily). During his enlistment, Noland was a part of the Emergency Services Team (EST), which is equivalent to a civilian police department’s SWAT team. He earned an Air Force Achievement medal for safely ending a hostage situation on base. He ended his enlistment in March 1990.
After leaving the USAF, Noland began employment with the Wilmington Police Department. During his 10 years there, he was an evidence technician, field training officer, evidence room manager, sergeant and SWAT team member and commander, then worked for the Ohio Department of Taxation in the Criminal Investigations Division (CID). He was assigned to the Cincinnati district and then was promoted to supervisor of that district. In 2011, Noland was promoted to the deputy chief of CID. He oversaw the daily operation of the department, which had 25 agents that covered Ohio. Noland retired from the state in December 2022. In August 2023, he accepted the position of chief of police with the Sabina Police Department.