The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

June 20, 2013

Purple Heart recipients to be honored at Ashtabula County Fair

Star Beacon

JEFFERSON — A new program at the Ashtabula County Fair will reflect respect for servicemen and women who were wounded while fighting for America.

Fair board member, Everett Helfer, came up with the idea last year and started people quilting, crocheting, knitting and cross-stitching  blankets, afghans and throws to give to county veterans who have been awarded a Purple Heart. The Purple Heart is the military decoration given to those wounded in battle.

The afghans and quilts will be displayed in the craft/grange building during the fair.

“We have a lady who will be 96 years old, who I hope will be there to receive the Purple Heart for her late husband,” Helfer said. “She was a registered nurse with the U.S. Army, 1st Lt. in World War II. She took care of wounded soldiers.”

That’s Angela Shamberg of Ashtabula, the widow of Purple Heart recipient Dan Shamberg, a Master Sgt. U.S. Army Air Corps. 12th Air Force Tail Gunner who flew in 23 bombing missions over Europe, said Shamberg’s nephews, Timothy and Doug Kalil of Ashtabula.

Dan Shamberg died in 2001, but his Angela lives with her nephew in Ashtabula and they hope she will be at the fair for the ceremony, slated for Aug. 9.

The quilts will not be returned to the crafter after the fair, but rather, a brief biography of each veteran’s service will be read Aug. 9 in front of a crowd at the grandstand and each veteran (or family representative) will be presented with a quilt or afghan.

“We will have a flyover/salute to veterans at 5 p.m.,” Helfer said.

Any extra quilts or afghans will be donated to veteran’s hospitals or nursing facilities.

So far, Helfer has gathered the names of 50 veterans to honor.

The annual display of the county’s agriculture, horticulture, pony rides, carnival rides, horse shows, Demolition Derbys and tractor pulls will have another historical addition — Ashtabula resident, John King, portraying Abraham Lincoln.

“We are real excited about it,” Helfer said.

King’s show, “Log Cabin to White House,” will be held in the historic log cabin. He also will make appearances on Kid’s Day and Friday night for the veterans.

King isn’t the only big name at the fair, set for Aug. 6-11.

Country music star Joe Nichols will perform in front of the grandstand at 8:30  p.m. Aug. 8. Tickets are on sale for $10 for first-come, first serve seating. The $10 pricing does not include the $7 admission to the fairgrounds. Right now, tickets are only available by mail. Send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to Ashtabula County Fair, P.O. Box 546, Jefferson, OH 44047.

This is the Arkansas native’s second appearance at the fair. He was here 10 years ago and packed the grandstand and race track seating area.

Tickets will be available starting July 9 at the secretary’s office under the grandstand.

The fair board is excited about this year’s fair, which also will include motocross, a market animal sale, Jungle Terry, Swifty the Clown, a tiger show, midway games and pony rides.