Heroes from every armed conflict in U.S. history were honored Wednesday morning during SourcePoint’s seventh annual Veterans Day ceremony at the organization’s Enrichment Center.
The theme of this year’s program was “Heroes Through Time: ‘We Were There’” and featured Delaware residents role-playing as veterans of the Revolutionary War through the Vietnam War, sometimes playing themselves, as they saluted the period-appropriate flag and told the crowd a little bit about who they were and what they did. Many of the characters represented had some connection to Delaware or Ohio.
After the program concluded, Delaware County Commissioners Jeff Benton, Barb Lewis and Gary Merrell presented this year’s Outstanding Veterans Awards.
The Outstanding Veteran Award was presented to Jim Krebs, a World War II veteran who served in the Third Army under Gen. George S. Patton. Krebs briefly recounted his time in the war to the crowd and said that, during the Battle of the Bulge, he and his twin brother, Jack, volunteered to climb up a hill and attempt to disable German tanks, machine guns and mortars. Krebs said he and Jack, working as a bazooka team, destroyed four tanks and two machine-gun nests during the operation.
Krebs added that he and his brother received Silver Stars for their actions but noted that his brother’s was awarded posthumously.
“He died in my arms on the battlefield, thousands of miles from home, at the age of 19,” Krebs said.
Krebs then shared his feelings on the flag. “My flag is as precious to me as the many, many lives that were laid down [for it]. It’s a real honor for me to be able to wear my country’s uniform. I’m so proud to be here. God bless America.”
Lewis said she was “humbled to be by a living American hero” and added that Krebs has done so much work for the community and thanked him for all of his service.
After the conclusion of the ceremony, Krebs was given the flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol Building on July 4 of this year.
Merrell then presented an Outstanding Friend of Veterans Award to Delaware Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle for her service to veterans and the eight Honor Flight trips she has led Delaware veterans on.
“If it has to do with veterans, I bet you Carolyn is there and involved,” Merrill said. “She truly is a friend of the veterans.”
Benton then presented an Outstanding Friend of the Veterans Award to Tina Francis, a teacher at the Delaware Area Career Center, for leading students in a variety of community programs, including collecting donations for charities and Pay It Forward, and for establishing the Buckeye Valley Middle School veterans assembly.
“Thank you for all you’ve done for veterans and the community,” Benton said.
Francis said she comes from a long line of military members, and joined the U.S. Army Reserve while she worked as a teacher. She said she tries to stress community service to her students.
“I’m humbled by this award,” Francis said.
Before the ceremony concluded, Lucas Crumley, district representative from Congressman Pat Tiberi’s office, shared a proclamation.
“What makes Veterans Day different than the other military holidays is that this is the day we recognize those who came home,” Crumley said. “Thank you for being mentors to our generation of veterans; thank you for being leaders in our community.”
The emcee of the event was Debbie McMillan, a 21-year-veteran and previous emcee of the event.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.