Event features WWII Medal of Honor speaker –
Story and photos by Patricia Beech –
Several hundred people were in attendance on Tuesday, Nov. 8 for the seventh Annual Veterans Day Celebration at the GE Aviation Test Site near Peebles.
The featured speaker for the event was World War II Medal of Honor recipient, Herschel “Woody” Williams, who spoke about his experiences on Iwo Jima in the Pacific theater of war.
We’ve had many world class speakers come through here,” said event emcee Kevin Zornes. “But this year we wanted it to be special and that’s why we reached out to Herschel“Woody” Williams and his foundation.”
To honor local veterans at the yearly event, GE shuts down their test facility operations during the celebration.
“This event gives our employees an opportunity to show their appreciation, “ said Zornes. “Not many companies will shut down operations for nearly half a day, provide lunch for their employees and distinguished guests from the community, and bring in a world-class guest speaker. We are grateful to GE as well as our plant manager, Brian Lepa and the rest of his management team.”
Among those attending the celebration were World War II veterans from Adams County: Grover Swearingen, Paul Douglas, and Tom Hughes.
Also attending the event was Keith Maupin, founder of the Yellow Ribbon Support Center. The center was created after Maupin’s son, SSG. Keith “Matt” Maupin was captured by insurgents in Iraq in 2004 and later found dead. Since 2004, Maupin and the volunteers at the Yellow Ribbon Center have sent out over 25,000 care packages.
The Greenup County High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps was also present to provide Color Guard duties for the event as were some members of the Peebles High School student body. The program featured the singing of the National Anthem by Dave Hopkins and the Pledge to the flag,
Those present also recognized the contribution of GE’s own veteran employees. The GE Veterans Network (GEVN) is a new addition to GE that attempts to create a community to support, develop, and promote military veterans throughout GE’s business and local communities by focusing on fostering a culture inside the company that recruits, develops and regains veterans as an essential leadership pipeline at GE.
“With the amazing growth that has taken place at the Peebles test operation combined with the dedication of the Peebles GEVN Unit and the GE Veterans Network, our veteran population continues to rise dramatically,” said Zornes. “Our duty is to ensure the service and sacrifice of our military veterans is never forgotten.”