By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Veterans honored at county fair

Yamhill County was the second county in Oregon to sign a veterans’ covenant, said Paul Partridge of the county veterans’ services department. The covenant signifies that the county recognizes and supports its vets in every way possible.

“We’re here to remind the people who’ve served we love you, support you and wholeheartedly respect and value what you’ve done for us,” Partridge told the approximately 150 people who attended the event.

The crowd included veterans and their families, Yamhill County Sheriff’s deputies and numerous local officials, including mayors from most towns, the county commissioners and state Rep. Jim Weidner, R-Yamhill. In addition, members of the National Guard were in attendance, along with Capt. Derek Hotchkiss, who introduced Bravo company and noted that it recently was named the best firing battery in the nation.

An a cappella quartet, In Accord, sang big band and Beatles tunes before the ceremony, and the National Anthem and military branch songs during it. As Kim Alt, Dick Munson, Patti Jeanfaivre and Partridge sang the anthems of the Coast Guard, Marines, Navy, Army and Air Force, veterans from those branches stood and acknowledged the admiration of the crowd.

Yamhill County Commissioner Allen Springer acknowledged family members of those who have served or are serving. They sacrificed, too, he said.

Springer noted the integrity of veterans and their willingness to continue serving by helping their communities.

Just as he would lay down his life for his family, he said, veterans were willing to lay down their lives for all of us. “If you’re a citizen of the U.S.A., it’s in our DNA to protect one another. It comes natural to us,” he said.

Veterans have protected not just our lives, but our rights and freedoms, Springer said.

“We need to appreciate all the veterans have done and not take it lightly,” he said. “We need to fully take care of veterans and serve them like they served us.”

Sheriff Jack Crabtree, the “very proud father of a Marine,” served as emcee of the event. “As a community, we show our respect, love, appreciation and support,” he said.

“I think of how good we all have it,” he said, thanking the vets. “You’ve given so much so I can be right here today, an American, born in the greatest country.” At that, the crowd broke into applause.

Jerry Wilson, Yamhill County Veterans Services officer, a veteran himself, thanked all the veterans, but he gave a special thank you to those who fought in WWII.

He introduced one woman and five men who served during that war: Peggy Lutz, Homer Farley, Leonard DeWitt, Vic Banke, Robert Fulham and James Goodwin.

“The World War II guys are my heroes,” he said. “They did a lot to make possible for us to be here today.”

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