Edmonson Voice Staff Report:
The Edmonson County Youth Soccer league hosted its first annual Veterans Appreciation Night at the Chalybeate Soccer Complex on Thursday, October 17th. ECYS board members said the event was started as a way to show young players that veterans should always be appreciated.
The national anthem was incorporated into this year's program for each game, which is part of what the league says is important for teaching pride and respect for the flag to Edmonson County's young players.
"We feel that it's important for us to do our little part to make sure the youth of our county realize what a sacrifice our veterans have made over the years," said board secretary Eric Spainhoward. "The least we can do is pay them some honor with our program."
Local veterans from all four branches of the military were recognized in the ceremony while South Edmonson music and art teacher Jessica Doyle sang the national anthem. The following veterans were recognized:
Collin Hall, Danny Kiernan, Wayne Graham, Wil Cannon, Johnny Russell, Michael Johnson, Jeff Evans, Greg Hudson, Dallas , Decker, Bennie Durbin, Ricky Durbin, Ben Minton, Josh Barrett, and Dez Simcoe, who also serves as the soccer official for the league.
The ECYS league, now entering its fourth season, has consistently grown since it's beginning and is led by a board that consists of Samantha Kiernan, Mindy Johnson, Greg Hudson, and Eric Spainhoward, along with a mediator John Kiernan, Parks and Recreation Programs Director.
Spainhoward credited not only Simcoe, who is an Air Force veteran, for going above and beyond for county programs, but also Greg Hudson, a volunteer that also is a Marine vet. He also said the Kiernans have played a major role in recent successes to local youth programs.
"I've never met a man that loves his community and the kids any more than John does," said Spainhoward. "He and his wife Samantha put in countless hours to help our local programs that most people know nothing about."
Board members say the ultimate goal of a successful youth program is to eventually incorporate a soccer program at the high school level. Edmonson County is one of the few high schools without KHSAA soccer.
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