The 162nd annual Wyandot County Fair kicked off Tuesday with a celebration of veterans.
As in previous years, veterans were admitted to the fair free of charge, but this year was extra special, as the Wyandot County Veterans Service Commission offered a free lunch for veterans in the Masters’ Building.
“I always want to do something that honors veterans and other counties do a lunch for veterans,” Wyandot County Veterans Service Officer Theresa Miller said. “It turned out great and I’m really excited. It’s an honor for me to serve other veterans, especially my older veterans because some of them are getting older and they’re slowing down and it’s always great to be able to say thank you to them again.”
Volunteers served 200 meals to Wyandot County veterans.
“This is terrific,” said rural Upper Sandusky resident Clarence Coffman, who served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps from 1953-55. “(Miller) has done an outstanding job. Most of the things that we’ve gotten have been donated and we can’t thank her enough. It was great to reconnect with old friends and make new friends; some of them I just met (Tuesday). It’s a terrific experience.”
Veterans said they enjoyed eating together and getting to know one another.
“This is awesome. More people need to do things like this for veterans, especially Vietnam War veterans because of the way they were treated when they came home,” said Tom Book, of Upper Sandusky, who served in the U.S. Air Force from 1966-70. “The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard, all of us should be treated the same, because we all did the same thing — defend our country.”
“This is real nice,” added World War II Navy veteran Lew Gottfried, of Upper Sandusky. “Reconnecting with old friends was a nice part about it all. I want to thank the organizers and hopefully they can do it again in another year.”
Organizers said they hope to make the veterans luncheon an annual event at the fair.
“It’s always a pleasure to serve other veterans,” Veterans Service Commissioner Raymond Noon said. “My veterans always come first; they always have and they always will. We had 200 people this year. Hopefully next year, we can double that number and we can keep going from there and the years after.”
The luncheon was sponsored by Discount Drug Mart, Sisters Bakery and Dough-Si-Dough Shoppe, all of Upper Sandusky; Saum’s Meat and Frederick Brothers IGA, both of Carey; Hempy Water Conditioning, Forest; Savory Sweet Catering Company, Sycamore; and Ballreich’s Potato Chips, Tiffin. Knights of Columbus Council No. 2050, Upper Sandusky, and other service organizations also sponsored the event by donating flags and door prizes.
By CHANDA NEELY