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. 


Mike Zdychnec, Executive Program Director for Healthcare Management at MN School of Business. (Photo by Ken Francis.)

JEN SCHUMACHER (far left), applauds as 15-year-old Matthew Trutna wins the 2015 Team Liam 5K Saturday. (Photos by Jennifer Edwards).

Kathleen R. Huber

DANCERS FROM JENNIFER’S DANCE CENTER will be performing at Disney World in Florida in October. Pictured (front row, left to right), are Grace Esselman, Lillian St. Jean, Sophia Gerou, Kailey Buchta, Rowan Payne and Hannah Oakes. Middle row are Amelia Cameron, Brianna Anthony, Jacqie Bengtson, Gianna Mitchell, Alex Dillion, Abby Yanke and Rose Curtis. Back row are Tori Ramert, Alexis Erickson, Sophia St. Ives, Tiana Link, Rachel Royseth, Kristian Kunkel, Brooklynn Bengtson, Nicole Bengtson and Kendall Luoma. Not pictured are Haylee Oakes and Melanie Miskowic. (Submitted photo).

FIVE GIRLS FROM MARY OF THE VISITATION CHURCH’S YOUTH GROUP helped Gail Stanley (not pictured) of Big Lake pack her belongings for a move she was taking to Princeton last weekend. The girls are (from left to right): Bridget Buchholz, Jasmine Johnson, Michaela Manifold, Brittney Kostek and Josie Berger. (Photo by Bill Morgan)
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