A Fitting Tribute for Responders and Servicepeople

Patriotic Mural on Grandstand Wall

Patriotic Mural on Grandstand Wall

The 3rd Annual Tri-State 9/11 Tribute in Lamar had several highlights Saturday, September 12, ranging from the performing bands and float entries that extended from West Beech Street all the way along South 9th Street and from there into the Prowers County Fairgrounds for the day.

Red, white and blue were the predominant colors of the parade entrants that ranged from a mounted honor guard, to performing bands from Lamar Middle and High schools, as well as numerous floats honoring our local first responders and members of the Armed Forces, to those who are engaged in national service.

Doug Harbour, Tribute organizer summed up the day for the crowd at the Prowers County Fairgrounds, “This is fantastic today, to have our Boy Scout troops on hand with our first responders. I see the two different entities, Armed Forces and responders, like a shimmering silver heart that unites our country from both entities.” Harbour also noted that the local girl scout troops had assisted, making bright blue ribbons which were passed around to honor local law enforcement. He added that there were many in the audience that had at one time or another, our residents have been affected by calls for assistance to 9-1-1, or had shown concern about their loved ones who were stationed on overseas duty, protecting those of us in this country. Harbour referenced the continuity from last year to this Tribute with the awarding of two $1,000 scholarships in the name of Wade Parker, a former student athlete at Lamar Community College who died while serving as a firefighter. A scholarship in his name was established by the college and Tribute committee which donated $1,000 to each of two students last year as well.

Lamar Fire Chief, Jeremy Burkhart, performed the 3-5-5 service, ringing a fire service bell, three and three and then five times to honor those who have fallen in service to their country and neighborhoods. “So far this year, we have seen 65 firefighters die in their service to our country,” he remarked.

Prowers County Sheriff, Sam Zordel, acknowledged the service of this year’s Grand Marshall, 96 year old Clyde Kennedy who sat in the stands during the ceremony. “A Granada High School graduate in 1936, Clyde studied accounting and with his degree was drafted into the Army in 1942. Mr. Kennedy received numerous citations for his administrative duties in the European conflict and helped prepare his Division for the invasion of Europe when they were transferred overseas in February of 1944.” Mr. Kennedy received a round of applause from the gathering in the grandstands.

Emcee, Cory Alan Forgue, the Lamar Police Department’s Special Resource Office to the Lamar school system, introduced the guest speaker, Joesph T. Airey. Airey served with the FBI for 22 years before retiring with a background in dealing with Weapons of Mass Destruction and National Security matters and managed a Joint Terrorism Task Force made up of members of various military and intelligence agencies. He holds various degrees in security studies as well as a Master Police Instructor’s Award.

The day’s itinerary included displays from vendors at the fairgrounds, a traditional flag retirement ceremony at the pavilion, conducted by local Cub Scout Troops, a BBQ which was free to responders and service members and a patriotic concert featuring the band, Desert Reign. Attendees visited the Hall of Honor, featuring patriotic drawings from local elementary students, photos and memorabilia from past responders and Armed Forces members and were treated to the display of the newly painted patriotic mural on the rear wall of the grandstand. Six students had their patriotic entries selected to become part of the mural, painted by Lamar High School art teacher, John Gersick.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: BusinessChamber/Local BusinesscommunityCountyEducationEventsFeaturedFestivalFire Department-RespondersHistoryLamarLaw EnforcementProwers CountySchoolTourismYouth


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