WILMINGTON — In honoring servicemen and women on Veterans Day, sometimes the salutary role of those veterans’ families goes unmentioned.
Knowing from experience the worries that often accompany families of active-duty soldiers, Clinton County Sheriff Ralph D. Fizer Jr. made it a point to conclude his Veterans Day speech with a grateful nod to veterans’ family members for the emotional support they give their military sons and daughters while separated.
Pending bad weather led event organizers to relocate Monday’s Clinton County Veterans Day program to inside the county courthouse rather than the veterans memorial wall that stands outdoors on courthouse square.
In his talk Fizer told about his youngest son who joined the U.S. Army — something he wanted to do since he was a kid —and then ultimately was deployed to Afghanistan where he was seriously wounded.
When one’s child is in a combat zone, parents sleep with the cell phone, remarked the sheriff.
Fizer remembered the Friday afternoon phone call that no parent wants to get. But it helped that it was his son on the other end of the line informing him of his injury and also advising he was going to be OK.
Later in the same call, an officer came on the phone and indicated the incident had been a close call: the injury was near the spine.
Several surgeries followed, and now his son is a corrections officer with the Butler County Sheriff’s Office.
Fizer included some humor in his talk, recalling how his wife hugged not only their son but his son’s sergeant as the soldiers got ready to board buses to start the trip to Afghanistan.
As part of Monday’s ceremony, local veterans advocate Jennifer Woodland was presented a plaque. In particular, she was honored for leading the Wilmington veterans banners project in which veterans’ photos are printed on banners that are hung on utility poles in town.
The banner program has brought much pride, the plaque presenter said.
In a roll call of new memorial pavers, VFW Post 6710 Auxiliary President Valerie Rose said pavers were recently installed for the following six veterans: Denny E. Gherman, Timothy J. Howell, Brian K. Reynolds, Jeffrey A. Rollins, Charles D. Trick, and Tony Lee Trick.
These brick pavers were installed in the walkway of the Clinton County Veterans Memorial located at the northeast corner of courthouse square in downtown Wilmington.
Orders continue to be accepted for pavers, and the offer is open to all Clinton County veterans who served the country while at war or in peace, and those currently serving. For more information, please contact the Clinton County Veterans Service Commission located at the rear of 43 South Walnut St., near the veterans memorial.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.