VFW post honors emergency workers
November 16, 2009 · 4:32 PM
During a time when veterans are typically honored for their service, the Enumclaw Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1949 recognized Kaylee Garrett and Donald Brassard for their exceptional emergency medical and firefighter service Nov. 12 at the post’s meeting.
Commander Elbert Reed presented the honorees with their awards, while noting the dedication and selflessness shown by all first responders. Chiefs and members from both departments were present as were the awardee’s families.
The VFW annually recognizes members of the local emergency medical and fire services for their special contributions to the community. Garrett, an EMT and paramedic with the Buckley Volunteer Fire Department, was honored for her contributions in developing and training fellow EMTs and implementing the Advanced Life Support system in Buckley.
Brassard, a captain in the Enumclaw and District 28 Fire Department, was recognized for his 10 years of leadership to the department and for his ongoing efforts at training and developing the skills of the Enumclaw/District 28 firefighters.
Enumclaw VFW Post 1949 members assisted local schools and senior facilities in the observance of Veterans Day; along with participating in the service at Tahoma National Cemetary.
As part of local school Veterans Day programs Al Zarb spoke at the Enumclaw High School and Southwood Elementary School, while Elbert Reed spoke at Victor Falls, Westwood, Elk Ridge and Meadow Mountain elementary schools on the meaning of Veterans Day. Charles Brass participated at White River High School, presenting the Voice of Democracy awards; and five Post members attended the Enumclaw Middle school program.
Milton Till of the Enumclaw VFW Post organized the Veterans Day ceremony at Tahoma National Cemetary. This annual service honors veterans of all branches of the armed services for their service to our country and drew more than 1,000 participants and attendees. Members of the Enumclaw VFW Post participated in the posting of the colors and wreath laying along with representatives of many other veterans organization and the Washington National Guard.
Enumclaw was further represented by the Enumclaw Gateway Band, which played for the service with local soloist Gavin Pyle singing the National Anthem, and EHS student Sam Horn playing the bag pipes. Till serves as chairperson of the Tahoma National Cemetary Support Group which has more than 220 volunteers providing service to the cemetery.
Two members of the Enumclaw Post conducted a flag folding for the residents of Expression on Nov. 11. They thanked the residents and staff for their thoughtfulness in honoring veterans and noted two of the residents were themselves veterans – one of whom was a veteran of the British Royal Air Force.
Living Court and the Enumclaw Senior center honored veterans with lunch Nov. 9 and 10.
Voice of Democracy
White River High School senior Laura Venemon with the top prize in the local Voice of Democracy scholarship program. Brass, a member of Enumclaw VFW Post 1949, presented Venemon with her award certificate and medal during the WRHS Veterans Day program on Nov. 10, where she gave her speech. White River High students Kevin Jones and Allie Woods placed second and third respectfully.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the USA annually conducts the nationwide scholarship program, providing more than $10,000 in scholarships to the national winner. Last year’s Washington state winner received more than $7,000 prior to competing in the national completion, where she won additional scholarship funding. The program requires high school students to write and read a 3- to 5-minute essay on the assigned theme – this year “Does America Still Have Heroes?”
Venemon, her social studies teacher and her parents were recognized at the Nov. 12 meeting of the Enumclaw VFW Post. At that time Brass presented Venemon with a scholarship check following her speech to the assembled group. Venemon’s entry now goes to the VFW District competition where Post members feel she has an excellent chance of winning. The VFW evaluation panel was “awed” by the content and delivery of her essay said one member.