Veterans honored for their sacrifices
Published: Thursday, August 16th, 2012
Around 35 riders participated in the 14th annual Veteran’s Ride hosted by VFW post 3442 on Thursday, Aug. 9. After the ride, the VFW honored four veterans during a ceremony with District 30 Rep. Mike Verchio giving a speech.
Opening the honoring ceremony was former Custer mayor Harold Stickney, who spoke about veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
“Our veterans are coming back without the will to fight,” Stickney said. “If you recognize this in friends or family, please tell them to get help.”
Custer Mayor Gary Lipp thanked the veterans for their service.
“It was a great honor to ride with the real heroes,” Lipp said. “This is something I will remember forever.”
Verchio spoke about honoring those who have served in the military and the sacrifices they made.
“The theme of sacrifice is lost in the world,” Verchio said. “But these veterans chose to risk their lives to protect the values we hold. Any nation that does not honor its veterans will not endure. America remembers.”
Verchio told the story of SSgt. Nixon, who risked and ultimately lost his life to make sure his men were out of direct fire.
“Freedom is not a gift,” Verchio said. “It is an earned benefit by those that have shed their blood.”
He encouraged listeners to make a personal commitment to veterans: to reach out and shake the hand of a living hero and to visit the gravesites of fallen heroes.
Four veterans were honored for their dedication, service and work.
Angela Koch retired from the Army in July 2011 after serving more than 20 years. She was stationed in numerous places, including Croatia, Bosnia, Iraq, Panama and Hungary. Larry Maciejewski served in the Army from 1987 to 2007. He was stationed across the U.S., including Ft. Dixon, N.J., and Ft. Hood, Texas. He also served in other countries, including Germany, Egypt, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Bill Barlow served in the Navy for many years. He served as the post’s commander, district commander and then state commander during the 2009-10 term.
Harold Garfinkel served in the Air Force beginning in 1967 and served his country in Okinawa, Japan and Vietnam and was stationed in Nevada and California. Garfinkel also participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
After the ceremony, all veterans in attendance gathered for group photos and a post-ride meal.
“These men and women deserve our thanks,” Verchio said. “It’s an honor.”
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