The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

August 10, 2013

Ashtabula County Fair honors veterans with Purple Heart Dedication Ceremony

JEFFERSON — The Purple Heart Dedication Ceremony was held at the Ashtabula County Fair for the first time Friday evening. Local servicemen and women, who were wounded while fighting for America, were honored. A flyover the grandstands by military jets began the patriotic and often emotional program. A gun salute was also fired as a show of respect. Hoss, a former local radio personality from WKKY, welcomed the crowd of approximately 500 and thanked the recipients of the Purple Heart on behalf of the Ashtabula County Fair. Soldiers were invited to sit in front of the grandstands, in a place of honor, if they desired. After Josh Woodard sang the National Anthem, all were asked to join in the pledge of allegiance to the flag.

Representative Patterson then honored Angela Shamberg, a nurse who cared for the wounded during WWII. Shamberg, who will be 96 years old, next week, was not present. A plague and corsage for her was proudly accepted by her son, Dan Shamberg.

The main part of the program focused on veterans who were all recipients of  Purple Hearts. They were presented with quilts, blankets, afghans and crocheted throws. Many local individuals and some quilting clubs made the items as gifts to be given to the veterans. Each veteran’s name and the country served in were read in front of the crowd. They were applauded as they (or family representative) were presented with a handmade quilt or afghan.

 “I want to thank everyone who made the quilts and donated their time to the program,” said Everett Helfer, a fair board representative. “I also want to thank all the veterans.”

Helfer brought the idea to the Ashtabula County Fair. He said that The Purple Heart Dedication Ceremony originated from the efforts of Sharen Cope, who started it in 2010 at the Columbiana County Fair.

Cope was among the presenters at the ceremony. She was helped by members of the Ashtabula County Young Marines. The youngsters were dressed in woodland camouflage fatigues. The young men and women marched to the veterans and saluted them as they handed them the quilts, throws and afghans. Anna Allshouse, director of the Ashtabula County Veterans Service Commission also assisted.

Jennie Lute made the quilt that was awarded best of show. She presented it to World War II Purple Heart veteran, Kenneth Babcock. The quilt was designed with red and white stripes and white shapes that resembled flowers on a blue background.

Teri Nelson and her husband, Donald, attended from Trumbull County. They were in charge of The Purple Heart Dedication Ceremony at their county fair in 2011.

“I gave a quilt that said ‘Welcome Home’ on it to a Vietnam vet,” said Nelson. “He told me that it was special to him because no one welcomed him back when he returned home from Vietnam.”

Jim Heinz, of Madison, is also a veteran of the Vietnam War. He said that when Vietnam vets came home they were not always welcomed home by civilians, but other vets welcomed them.

Joshua Webster, who served in Afghanistan, said that he felt more supported when he returned to America.

“It’s great to see the people out here supporting this. You got to think about the other soldiers who are still out there right now, too,” said Webster.

The Purple Heart veterans honored for their service include:

• WWII — Kenneth Babcock, Frank Behling, Glenn Blenman, Donald Henning, Alex Lambros, James Livola, Chuck Marcy. Glenn McKay, Wallace Morris, Sal Sorrentino, Donald Tanner, Donald Taylor, Robert Tyler, Dan Shamberg

• Korea — Charles Riffe, Stanford Rohrig, Warren Truesdell, Tony DeAngelo

• Vietnam — Michael Adams, Homer Amspaugh, Dennis Bartai, Larry Boysaw, Nic Church, George Cleveland, Ronald Fine, Richard Fisher, Paul Gildersleeve, Stanley Golembieski, Francis Heasley, Sonny Heinonen, Gary Huffman, Roger Lynch, Rodney Matthews, Gary Maznik, James Mcavoy, Edwin Misinec, Michael Mundi, Richard Piper, Eugene Planto, Wayne Pluet, James Schmaltz, Charles Schultz, Don Shaughnessy, Jimmy Stiles, Richard Taft, Richard Trask, James Young, Tom Hooper, Samuel Caruthers, Daniel Polteli, John Snyder

• Afghanistan — Travis Draper, Ryan Frye, Joshua Webster

• Iraq — Blane Bellas, Taylor Cleveland, Michael Dixon, Dale Dunford, Benjamin Hicks, Justin Humphreys, George Scott

• also honored — Bob Alderman,  Richard Craft, Todd Hooper, Bud Kranauer, Barry Lesnick, James Lewis, Paul Schlack

Hoss, the emcee apologized, saying the list may be incomplete.

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