EnglishSpanish

VETERANS HONORED

thumbthumbthumbthumb

Merriam-Webster describes patriotism as a love for or devotion to one’s country. That patriotism was evident in Hamilton County on Veteran’s Day, from flags waving to quilts of valor given. Songs were sang, stories were shared and the community remembered the significance of why this day matters, why our Veterans matter!

Over 130 flags were displayed at residences and businesses put on by the Rotary Club’s flag program, as well as private individuals who display Old Glory.

The Syracuse school’s annual Veteran’s Day Celebration was held in the McCoy Auditorium and began with local veterans, John Swisher and Rusty Wharton presenting the colors, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and a special trumpet solo by Janika Pizarro performing the national anthem. 

In addition to students in grades fifth through twelfth, staff and community members, local veterans and their families attended the celebration. Mark Davis introduced the keynote speaker, 1973 SHS graduate and veteran, Colonel Keith Roberts, U.S. Air Force, Retired. 

After graduating Washburn Law school in May 1980, Roberts received his Air Force Commission through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Program at Washburn. He entered active duty in 1981, and he served 21½ years of active duty. 

Roberts began,  “The day which was chosen when WWI ended, the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.” 

“I am very proud to be from here,” said Roberts, “One of the reasons I got where I was is because of the things the military did for me, but more importantly than that are my family and the Syracuse community,” adding, “I learned about honesty, integrity and hard work which served me throughout my military career, my time at the White House and Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.”

While waiting to come on active duty, he mowed yards. “My dad used to kid me that since I mowed yards in the fifth and sixth grade, now you graduated law school and you’re mowing yards!” 

When Roberts told his grandfather, Willis Buhrle, he was going into the ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) program, he said, “Well that means you are going to be gone a lot.”  Roberts admits  that was true. While stationed in Europe he and his family had an opportunity to see London, Rome, Paris, Soviet Union, seeing it before it had fallen, Moscow, then Leningrad, now Saint Petersburg, “The military gave me a chance to see the world.”

In addition to being stationed in Georgia, Germany, Alabama, Kansas, and Washington D.C. Roberts traveled to various bases to try cases. Once in a tent Saudi Arabia, “Not like the Marine Corps tent, the Air Force tents were air conditioned!” One case took him to Panama, to try the last case before Howard Air Force base closed. 

After retirement from the Air Force in 2002, he became Deputy General Counsel of the White House Office of Administration. 

As Deputy General Counsel, Roberts served as the Contracts Attorney and Fiscal Law advisor for the White House offices, legal advisor on Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act matters, legal advisor on information technology matters, and legal advisor on ethics and professional responsibility matters.

Roberts left the Office of Administration in June 2007 and accepted a position as the Court Executive for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. He was the senior staff member responsible for the day-to-day operations of the court including budget, finance, personnel, contracting, building maintenance, security, and ethics matters. He served as Court Executive until retiring in March 2020 after nearly 40 years of active duty and federal civilian practice of law.

“When I worked for the White House and USCAAF, I thought here I am some dumb lawyer from some po dunk town in Western Kansas, but I got to see and work with people you only see on TV.”

In closing, Roberts shared what the face of a veteran looks like for him, versus the veterans in front of him today. “I get medical care at Walter Reed Medical Center where they treat the wounded veterans particularly from the second Gulf War, and Afghanistan and with the type of warfare now, there are a lot of missing limbs and sometimes I see a veteran with a young family, being wheeled around by perhaps a wife, and maybe a child or two.But we as a country need to make a commitment to care for our veterans.” 

Melanie Eddy then presented three Quilts of Valor which are hand or machine made and presented to service members and veterans as a thank you for their service and sacrifice in serving. 

Sonny Rundell entered the Army in March 1953, training at Aberdeen Proving ground in Maryland as a welder and in ordinance field maintenance. He served in Korea for 18 months. While there he saw a Korean boy whose feet had frozen who had wandered into camp using sticks to get around. The guys made special shoes for him so he could walk. 

Richard Plunkett entered the Army in 1961 and served two years in Budingen Germany. He was in the 3rd Reconnaissance Squad 12 Calgary in the 3rd Armored division. 

Jerome Lampe entered the Army in March 1958 in Fort Carson, Colorado. Following eight weeks of training in Fire Director Artillery, he was sent to Fort Chaffee, Ark. for eight more weeks of training. He then went to Korea for 13 months in the 20th artillery 1st Calvary Division. He was on the gun crew that fired the first simulated atomic round in Korea. He achieved the rank of E5 during his two years of service in peace time, finishing in Fort Riley on March 10, 1960.

Each student and faculty member shook hands and thanked the veterans for their service. The fifth and sixth grade students gave handmade thank you notes to each veteran. 

The veterans were then honored as they walked through the lower level of the elementary school with students waving flags, smiling and many saying thank you. The pre-schoolers made each veteran a necklace with red, white and blue beads and the halls were lined with handmade posters and signs  paying tribute and thanking the veterans. Students began singing the national anthem. 

The physical education class was working out to patriotic songs. The music students were also singing the national anthem while standing, saluting the flag. 

The students made sure each veteran was made to feel special that day. 

That evening was the  annual Veterans Day dinner at the Veterans Building. A POW MIA table was set up in memory of fallen, missing in action, or prisoner of war military service-members.

The table is set for one, symbolizing some are missing. The salt sprinkled on the bread plate symbolizes the tears shed by waiting families. An inverted glass represents the fact that the missing and fallen cannot partake. A lit candle symbolizes a light of hope that lives in hearts to illuminate the missing’s way home.

Students from the Syracuse Christian Academy performed an armed forces medley. Then the Veterans and guests ate a supper of turkey, dressing, potatos, gravy, rolls, desserts and salads.  Attendees witnessed five veterans receive a Quilt of Valor, handmade and awarded to a service member or veteran, thanking them for their service and sacrifice. Melanie Eddy and Jean Bezona introduced each veteran then wrapped each veteran with a quilt. 

Raymond Henry was drafted in the Army in March 1955. Married and actively farming in Hamilton County, he had to leave for basic training in Colorado Springs. In the 97th Signal Corp, he spent one year in Warhoff Germany. He was shipped by boat both ways and was sick both ways.

He returned home to the farm, his son, Randy, after missing all the “firsts” in his life, and wife Janet. 

William (Bill) Royer entered the Marines in 1966 while attending Stanford University, signing up for officer training which meant six weeks each summer training while attending college. He served a total of 13 years with a mix of summer training, active duty, and reserve duty. Serving in Okinawa, Japan, Camp Lejeune NC and Vietnam, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. 

Serving overseas, Bill was in the mess tent when he heard someone holler his name. It was Jon Petterson from Lamar. And it was always good to see someone from home. 

Terry Maune served in the Army from 1965-1967 and was stationed in Tulles and Verdun France. He drove a truck, something he knew well, transferring artillery shells and bombs from bunkers all over France, taking them to Antwerp Belgium to be shipped to Vietnam. He enjoyed seeing Europe from a truck even though he was hauling potentially unstable explosives over small secondary roads were not as good as Highway 27.

George Phillippy entered the Navy in 1957 and was a part of all Arkansas Squad For special training. He was stationed at Naval Air Station, Kingsville, TX., serving aboard the USS Intrepid as a submarine hunter. When Emperor Trujillo of the Dominican Republic was assassinated in May 1961, he was ordered to ship immediately and within a few hours was on his way to the Dominican Republic, tasked with keeping peace in the Dominican Republic for two weeks. 

Billy Whitfield began his service in the Army in 1956   serving in the 29th  Infantry 85th Battalion. He was the company guard for the brig (prison) taking prisoners to the barracks for showers then back to the brig. His unit served as the final protective line for Germany to keep the Communists back. 

Billy was released from Active service in New York City where he had to pay his way home. He keeps a green porch light on to honor veterans service for our country. 

Thank you veterans. We hope you feel our appreciation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEWS

thumb

Four Shine In High School Ag Programs

Handicapped platforms have recently been added to the seating area at the Herndon Gym, thanks to four high school seniors, Yriel Ibarra, Keith Hedberg, Jaden Grilliot, Connor Ochs. Superintendent Paul Larkin explained the project was brought about with input from someone who... [More]

Kansas contractors offer college scholarships for students in construction-related programs

Kansas contractors offer college scholarships for students in construction-related programs ELIGIBILITY INCLUDES TECHNICAL, COMMUNITY AND FOUR-YEAR COLLEGE PROGRAMS The Kansas Contractors Association is now accepting scholarship applications from students interested in the construction... [More]

thumb

The Season of Giving Begins

Thanksgiving is here and the season of giving is upon us. So many businesses, community organizations and individuals work to help those who have hit hard times all year long. We are fortunate to live in such a community as this. And while we will miss many if we were to try... [More]

thumb

THE COMMUNITY IMPACTS THE STUDENTS

Syracuse Elementary School fourth grade teacher Mrs. Neubrandt was approached by Mia Boy about speaking to her class about the book signing she attended last Tuesday night with her mom meeting Roxie Yonkey at the Northrup Theatre. Neubrandt felt this was an opportunity for... [More]

thumb

LOCAL FOOD GROWN HERE

Last Friday, the Syracuse  Christian Academy broke ground on their new project -  a geothermal greenhouse. Superintendent Joe Gould said, “It’s so important to have locally produced food.”  They will be able to grow citrus year round. And... [More]

Governor’s Statement on Federal Vaccine Mandate

Governor Laura Kelly's Statement Addressing New Federal Vaccine Mandate TOPEKA – The following can be attributed to Governor Laura Kelly regarding the Biden Administration's new vaccine mandate:  “Yesterday, I reviewed the new vaccine mandate from the Biden... [More]

thumb

Where Are They Now? Judy Schwieterman Kocher

During the heat of the Viet Nam War, sometime in 1966, Harold Kane was an airplane mechanic in De Nang in the Republic of Viet Nam, when a “Nightingale,” a C9, flew in at night.  They didn’t accept aircraft at night because enemy missiles came out of nowhere... [More]

thumb

Hart Sentenced For Fires

It was an emotional Wednesday morning at the Hamilton County District Court where Austyn Hart was sentenced for Arson and Aggravated Arson. Victims of the Davis Motors fire went on record to share their statements with Hart during his sentencing hearing for arson and aggravated... [More]

More News


OPINIONS

Petty Thoughts

I am the first to admit, I can get irritated with everyone from my family to people in town. Maybe they commented on something on social media I didn’t care for or maybe I didn’t love a look they gave me. Maybe they said something without thinking or I did. Maybe... [More]

Thankfulness - Something we work at.

 Here we are, Thanksgiving! And then Christmas and then New Years. Whew I am tired already! LOL Thanksgiving - a time to be thankful, a time for gratitude. I like how in Spanish it is Dia del accion de gracias, the action of thanks.  To me it says thankfulness is... [More]

Going for it

If you want to be great at something you need practice right? I tell my daughter a lot of things like work hard, be kind, be yourself. But sometimes I am not sure I always practice what I preach. So I decided to go after my dream of writing a book. Over the weekend, I sent a... [More]

Going Back In Time

It’s Tuesday morning and somehow while I was preparing a Veteran’s Day issue it escaped me the post office was closed Thursday. So I began rushing. I grabbed a motto from my old days at WNBC/New York - Speed is accuracy. It’s been a lot of years but back... [More]

About Books

I didn’t grow up with books in my house. I grew up with porn.  My dad had men’s adult magazines around. His other rule was never write anything down because the police could use it against you. So of course I became a reader and a writer. When I was a child,... [More]

What are we left with?

Holidays and days of remembrance are tricky! Everyone has their own opinions and experiences. Halloween is this Sunday. Some people decorate to the nines. Others don’t believe in it, seeing it as a pagan holiday not celebrating it at all. I am more in the middle. My child... [More]

God Loves Them

I have been watching Tik Tok prison videos. Inmates who are doing life sentences are getting saved. It brings tears to my eyes to see a peace that passes understanding. Do I wish they didn’t have to find God there? Yes! Do I wish I didn’t go through what I went... [More]

Investing Locally

My daughter is reading the book Bud Not Buddy for class. As she was reading a chapter she pointed out a grammatical error and I was so proud.  When I shared the information with my cousin, she mentioned there aren’t many proofreaders anymore.  That AI (Artificial... [More]

More Opinions

SPORTS

thumb

JH Basketball Season Underway with JH Boys sweeping Lakin

Monday night at home at the Herndon Gym, the Junior High boys swept Lakin! Head coach Vance Keller said, “We’re a young team with only six eighth graders and 12 seventh graders. We’ve had six total that started the season with injuries so we haven’t had... [More]

thumb

Senior Night Volleyball

Three Syracuse High School volleyball seniors were honored on Tuesday, October 5, during the volleyball tournament at Syracuse.  Kaetlin Thomeczek, daughter of Joe and Dami Thomeczek has played volleyball since the third grade, playing with Syracuse Youth Activities Association... [More]

thumb

HS Track

Head coach Steve Navarro said, “The coaching staff has really enjoyed working with this group of kids this year. They have been putting in hard work despite some less than stellar conditions for practice and meets. We are excited to see what they can do now that we are... [More]

thumb

SHS SPORTS WRAP UP

Baseball: The Bulldogs faced the Goodland Cowboys at home on Thursday, April 8, losing game one, 2-22 and game two, 1-17. Head Coach Dustin Doze said the Bulldogs really struggled throwing strikes again and they had too many errors. We need to clean things up if we want to... [More]

thumb

Spring Sports Start

One year ago, athletes and coaches were beginning practice for their spring sport, some practicing during spring break, others enjoying the break from school. Soon they found out their break was extended a week, some with great joy, others with apprehension. Then came the unfortunate... [More]

thumb

SUBSTATE HEARTACHE

Substate began and ended quickly but these Varsity teams left it all out on the court. In heartbreaking last second baskets, our basketball season was over. The boys lost by two points in the last five seconds and the girls lost by three. A wrap up of the season will come in... [More]

thumb

HEADING TO SUBSTATE

The SHS Bulldogs faced the 4-A Holcomb Longhorns for the final home game of the season, with the varsity teams unable to win. The boys will be the number three seed in first sub state match up at home, Monday, March 1, against the number 6 seed, Stanton County. This will be the... [More]

thumb

Junior High Bulldog Basketball

The Syracuse Jr. High basketball season has come to end following the High Plains League Tournament last Saturday. And what a season it was. It began when Head coach Jeff Mathias resigned from basketball due to his wife Tori’s health concerns. “The kids love... [More]

More Sports

OBITUARIES

James Walter “JW” Neal

Funeral Services for Holly, CO resident, J.W. Neal will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, December 9, 2021, at Valley Memorial Funeral Chapel in Holly, Colorado.  Interment will follow at Fort Lyon National Cemetery in Las Animas, Colorado at 12:30 p.m.  Visitation... [More]

thumb

Donnetta Roark

Donnetta Roark was born August 25, 1928 in Syracuse, KS to Dolph and Anna Molz. Departed this world on November 28, 2021. She lost her beloved husband LaVerne of 50 years in 1996. They were world travelers during their marriage. She was a member of Westwood Presbyterian Church... [More]

Russell Alexander Cave

Russell Alexander Cave passed away November 30, 2021 at the age of 54 at the Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, Kansas. He was born on July 27, 1967 to Edmond Everette Cave and Martha Elizabeth (Holland) Cave in Hugoton. He grew up in Coolidge and attended Joyce Elementary for... [More]

thumb

Harold Lee Phillips

Harold Lee Phillips, known to most as Heck, passed away on November 18, 2021, in Holly, Colorado at the age of 83.  He was born on February 15, 1938, in Benkelman, Nebraska to Vernon and Clara Mae (Elam) Phillips. Heck was a member of the Odd Fellows Holly Lodge 144, Elks,... [More]

Ella Rosetta Lohman Maune

Ella Rosetta Lohman was born July 15, 1920, in Russell County, Kansas, to Katharina and Lewis Lohmann and resided in the home of her paternal grandparents until the age of 3.  At this time the family, including an older brother, Raymond, moved to a farm southeast of Wakeeney,... [More]

thumb

Margaret Jean (Winger) Hook

Margaret Jean (Winger) Hook, 75, passed away Wednesday, November 24, 2021 at Overland Park Regional Medical Center in Overland Park, Kansas. She was born May 18, 1946 to Wilma Nancy (Jones) and Frederick Dale Winger in Garden City, Kansas. Margaret was born into a family of... [More]

Danny Harvey Birt

Danny Harvey Birt went to be with his savior Jesus, on Monday, November 22, 2021 at the age of 76, at the Greeley County Hospital, in Tribune, Kansas. He was born at the family home July 9, 1945 in Trinidad, Colorado, the third son of Richard Irvin Birt and Mary Amanda (Miller)... [More]

Mollie Pettinger

Mollie Pettinger 1930-2021 Valley Memorial Funeral Chapel Mollie L. Pettinger, affectionately known as Blondie, passed away on November 16, 2021 in Wheat Ridge, Colorado at the age of 91.  Mollie was born on February 8, 1930 in La Junta, Colorado to Albert Vernon and... [More]

More Obituaries

View All Obituaries