Mrs. Donna Engel Featured As Keynote Speaker
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
Veterans were honored at Edmonson County High School today in the annual Veterans Day Program, hosted by ECHS administration, students, and local VFW Chapter #6937.
Special guest speaker was Mrs. Donna Engel, VFW Post/District Quartermaster and U.S. Air Force Veteran.
Mrs. Engel discussed portions of her 8 and 1/2 year career in the Air Force as a computer programmer, which part of it she described by saying, "I wouldn't say I'd have to kill ya if I told ya, but I'm not supposed to tell ya."
She said she didn't have grand stories of battle to tell, instead, she told about how the Air Force had afforded her opportunities in life. She encouraged those in attendance to seek out opportunities, to work to make opportunities, and to take advantage of those opportunities in the best ways they could.
The program was emceed by Assistant Principal Nikki Culbreth and the colors were presented by Edmonson County Boy Scout Troop 597. ECHS FFA President Danyale Atwell led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance and the Star Spangled Banner was sung by Sheriff Shane Doyle.
Edmonson County Judge Executive Wil Cannon presented Edwin Vincent, VFW State Commander and CMSGT, U.S. Air Force Retired, with a county proclamation for "Edwin Vincent Day," for November 12, 2021 in honor of the work that Vincent has not only done in military service, but also on behalf of veterans with his participation and leadership of state, regional, and local VFW chapters.
In Vincent's address to the crowd, he recognized Mr. Paul Vincent, age 94, who is the last known Edmonson County WW2 Veteran. Mr. Paul Vincent was greeted with a standing ovation. Many also know Paul as one who loves to visit local churches where he often sings the old song "I'll Wear a White Robe."
Voice of Democracy Winners with Asst. Principal Nikki Culbreth: third place winner Alyssa Doyle, second place winner Emma Sackett, and first place winner Lyla Wood.
The Voice of Democracy speech winners also delivered their addresses to the crowd, which was first place winner ($500 prize) Lyla Wood, second place winner ($300) Emma Sackett, and third place winner ($200) Alyssa Doyle.
The awards were presented by Gerald Carroll, VFW Senior Vice Commander, U.S. Army Aviation, Chief Warrant Officer 5 (R). Prize money was donated by Bank of Edmonson County, who also provided a hospitality room for veterans and their families, Gravil Funeral Home, Kyle White-Edmonson County PVA, County Attorney Greg Vincent, and County Clerk Kevin Alexander.
The ECHS band played several numbers and band member Emilee Denham closed today's program with the playing of "Taps."
All veterans in the crowd were recognized by their branches of service; Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, and Air Force. Although no one was present to represent the Space Force, the branch was recognized.
ECHS Principal Jonathan Williams said he was thankful that the program was back at school this year, after 2020's program was cancelled in the midst of the pandemic.
"I was very proud of our students and their behavior today," he said. "It’s so crucial for our youngsters to see our veterans and celebrate what they gave for us, so that we can have our freedoms today. I’m glad to live in a community that loves our veterans, the flag, and those that protect and serve it."