RICHARD AND DONNA WINGARD of Big Lake reviewed the assortment of flags and memorabilia at Saron’s flag exposition Monday evening. Richard served in Korea with the Army; Donna served in the Army Reserve with an engineer battalion.

Big Lake says: Thanks, Veterans

Gary W. Meyer


 Big Lake’s military veterans came away with a warm glow of appreciation felt from an array of recognition ceremonies and lunches earlier this week.
Residents paraded with the American flag for two miles through city streets Sunday afternoon - their hero being a real life WWII serviceman, Marine Arnie Johnson of Big Lake, who survived horrific battles on Okinawa in the South Pacific. 
Following the parade, they memorialized a headstone set at Saron to remember America’s veterans and their service to the country.
Monday afternoon, the mighty cheers and jubilant voices in song of little students at Independence Elementary School rang out for 45 minutes, as a couple dozen veterans were recognized for their service.
It’s a Grand Old Flag was the tune as second graders, under the direction of Megan Chopard-Boge and Becky Hoover, waved their little flags and belted out the song. It was clearly loved by the veterans, who sat closeby on the stage.
Tom Freece, Brainerd, gave the Veterans Day message, saying as a veteran he didn’t call himself a hero.
“I was just doing my duty,” he said.
   A native of Valley Forge, PA, he was inducted into the military in 1968. “Greetings, you are ordered to report for duty,” he said, reflecting on the letter.
“Veterans now days may be looked upon as a batch of bald-headed fat old men. But we are members of a brotherhood “extremely important to me,” he said. 
He talked about pride - and he talked about thanks. 
“I’m proud to be an American. I am more thankful to say I’m a member of this brotherhood.”
Jeremiah Hill of Monticello, a former member of the US Navy, also addressed the youngsters, saying it was collective work - cooperation - which spelled victory in the military, as it does in everyday life. 
   Concluding the ceremony was a slide production of photos of family members in the military brought to school by students. 


(From left) Lexi Freund (Big Lake), Betsey Cornelius and Ben Cornelius (Nowthen), Gunner Dorweiler and Colton Dorweiler (Princeton), Ben Manning (Zimmerman), Bailey Dorweiller (Princeton) and Salene Krueger (Big Lake.) The county fair runs from July 16-19. (Photo by Ken Francis.)

Dr. Lola Sutherland is retiring from clinical practice after 33 years in the Big Lake community. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards.)

SMITTY’S AMATEUR FIDDLERS CONTEST drew 22 musicians to compete in Big Lake this year. They were accompanied by Gilmore Lee.

LEE GERHARDSON, 47, from New London, was found dead in Big Lake near the swimming beach in 10 feet of water Monday. Cause of death is unknown at this time but foul play is not suspected.

Adopt-a-Road participants volunteer for Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and work to clean roadsides that border and bisect refuge land. This spring, from April to June, approximately six individuals, three families, and seven groups, such as boy and girl scouts and 4-H groups, volunteered to clean countless miles of roads. (Submitted photo.)