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Honoring our Veterans

National Honor Society

Veterans Day was celebrated at the Meridian Public School on Monday, November 11th with the Meridian National Honor Society along with their sponsor, Mrs. Kruse, hosting the event.   Presentation of Colors was by the Daykin Legion Post #198.  Breanna Boyce was the MC for the ceremony and welcomed all in attendance.  Josiee Sobotka led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance followed by the Meridian High School Band playing the “Star-Spangled Banner” and the “Armed Forces On Parade.”   Breanna Boyce and Josiee Sobotka presented “POW/MIA Remembrance.” 

Halle Pribyl and Erin Kujath gave introductions to three videos, “I’d Do It All Over Again,” “Veterans Day Tribute,” and “I Fought For You.”   The Meridian 7-12 grade choir sang “God Bless America” followed with a “Thank You” poem by Collen Davignon read by Delaney Homolka.

We had two special presentations by the Quilt of Valor Foundation.  The mission of Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor which are awarded to any active military and/or veterans.  Phyllis Schoenholtz, member of the organization, Piece Makers, told the history of the Quilt of Valor Foundation and shared these remarks, “These quilts are an expression of gratitude meant to thank and comfort you.  We honor you for leaving all you hold dear to serve, whether in time of crisis or in time of peace.  These Quilts of Valor unequivocally says thank you for your service, sacrifice, and valor in serving our nation.”

Our two awardees were Dale Gutzmer, World War II Veteran, and Heather Knudson-Maschman, Gulf War/Operation Desert Shield veteran. 

Dale Gutzmer has lived most of his life in the Daykin area, residing at the Heritage Care Center in Fairbury for the last 12 years.  Dale was inducted into the United States Army in August of 1945.  He took Basic Training at Camp Roberts, in California until December 1945, training in the infantry division.  After Christmas, Dale was sent to Virginia State and Brooklyn, New York for a short time.  In February 1946, Dale was sent to Fulda, Germany where he was a guard at the Army Base there until Christmas 1946 when he was discharged.

Heather Knudson-Maschman joined the Navy’s Delayed Entry Program in December, 1987.  While in that program, Heather finished high school and worked with the recruiting office in Lincoln assisting in the recruitment of fourteen others until she graduated from Lincoln Northeast in June 1988.  She left for Boot Camp August 8, 1988 in Orlando, Florida.  After Boot Camp she continued training in Millington, Tennessee where she attended Aviation Structural Mechanic A School.  Heather reported to her permanent duty station at North Island Naval Air Station in Coronads, California, December 1988.  Over the next four years, she worked on CH-46 Inspections doing inspections and repairs on the various egress and safety equipment.  She was also responsible for inspections and maintenance on pilot and air crew equipment to insure proper function of their life saving equipment in the event of an emergency.  While attached to HC-3, she was sent on multiple detachments to duty stations in the United States and elsewhere.

Lane Barton gave closing remarks with the Retirement of Colors.  “While only one day of the year is dedicated solely to honoring our veterans,  Americans must never forget the sacrifices that many of our fellow countrymen have made to defend our country and protect our freedoms.”  Randy Neugebauer.

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