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Spirit of patriotism honored in Elizabeth

Four soldiers who served in Iraq were honored Saturday at the annual Spirit Days festival in Elizabeth, receiving certificates of appreciation, American flags donated by the VFW Old Capitol Post 2950 in Corydon and a warm round of applause from festival-goers.
The soldiers served as grand marshals for the parade, which included several classic cars, members of the VFW post in Elizabeth, four-wheelers, county police officers and, of course, lots of loud fire trucks.
The spotlight, however, was on the soldiers.
‘It may help the soldiers and their families through a rough time when they feel unappreciated and overwhelmed with what they have to deal with,’ said Denise Bishop, fund-raising coordinator of the nonprofit South Harrison Community Development Center. ‘I know the soldiers appreciate anything in the way of thanks and prayers, and this was the least we could do for all that they do for us.’
The ceremony was open to all soldiers from Harrison County who had served in Iraq after the tragedies of 9/11, but only four were able to make it. After their names ‘ and names of others who had contacted Bishop ‘ were read, other families came forward with other soldiers’ names to add to the list.
Present at the ceremony were Mark Sutton (Army, deployed twice to Iraq), a 30-year veteran who reached the highest rank possible in warrant officer corps, Chief Warrant 5; Michael Bowden (Army, served once in Iraq in 2004), who is now stationed at Bowman Field in Louisville; Gary Tyree (Army National Guard, deployed twice to Iraq), who retired in February 2006; and Bill Simpson (Navy, deployed to Iraq on Valentine’s Day of 2002), who served eight months while on tour then retired in 2005 with 20 years of service.
Other names read during the ceremony included: Air Force ‘ David Fitzgerald, Dennis Martin, Michael Martin; Air National Guard ‘ Harley Baker, Patrick Crosier; Army ‘ Joseph Clark, Andy Bibb, Chris Fetz, James Bartuszek, Richard Bartuszek Jr., Rick Kerr; Army National Guard ‘ Otis Kerr Jr.; Army Reserves ‘ David West, Ben West; Navy ‘ Jacob Cunningham, Josh Bibb; and Marines ‘ George Tuell, Joshua Houser, Steven Cooke.
Bishop said she’d be honored if families of other soliders in the county contacted her at 968-3120 so she could forward a certificate of appreciation to the soldier.
Also honored were volunteer firefighters with more than 20 years experience from Boone Township, Elizabeth and New Middletown Volunteer Fire departments. They were: Boone Township ‘ Fire chief Jeff Hess (22 years) and Maurice Roby (42 years); Elizabeth ‘ Fire chief David Davis (20 years), Doug Miller (22 years), Bob Hubert (24 years), Bill Miller (47 years) and Paul Mason (47 years); New Middletown ‘ Larry Faith (23 years), Carl Bickel (24 years), Larry Day (24 years), Harold Fessel (24 years), Perry Gleitz (25 years), Fire chief Jerry Gleitz (26 years), Scotty Wise (26 years), Dave Stewart (43 years) and Clarence Melton (53 years).
Various winners from the weekend were:
Spirit Days Queen ‘ Paula Hubler, daughter of Matt and Stephanie Hubler.
Little Miss ‘ Zoey Nurse, daughter of Autumn Dennison and Carlos Nurse.
Karaoke ‘ Sheila Haag, adult winner; Shawn Gannon, youth winner.
Pie-baking contest ‘ Pati Funk, Laconia, blackberry pie, first; Florence Glaze, Elizabeth, coconut cream pie, second; Jamie Babcock, Elizabeth, peach pie, third.
Watermelon-eating contest ‘ Tyler Kingsley.
A 3-on-3 basketball tournament was held, but the winners were not available at press time.
It was announced that future Spirit Days festivals will take place during the first full weekend in July, which in 2008 means July 4 and 5. A planning meeting for the 2008 edition will be held Aug. 13 at 7 p.m. at the South Harrison Community Development Center; the public is encouraged to attend.
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