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This is the big day of the year for a feast with family and friends. But it is also a time to be thankful for what one has. Over the years, I have come to appreciate wealth — not the monetary kind — I possess of family, friends, health, and freedom. So today I’m writing about a tribute to those who are serving our country so that we may enjoy our freedom.
Members of the military were honored during the annual Armed Services Recognition and Appreciation Dinner Nov. 17 at The Toledo Club. Young men and women in crisp dress uniforms with impeccable manners joined veterans and proud family and club members for an elegant feast at white, linen-covered tables centered with red roses. A trumpet beckoned everyone to the dining room where a drum roll signaled the start of the program and welcoming by event chairman Mike Goetz.
A heart-felt invocation was followed by the presentation of the colors and “The National Anthem.” Gratitude and respect for these service members and what they represent brought tears to many eyes, including mine.
Front and center, was a small table in honor of prisoners of war and soldiers who are missing in action. Lt. Haraz N. Ghanbari, of the Navy explained its significance:
Small for the frailty of one serviceman alone, white for the purity of his intentions, a single red rose for the loved ones waiting for his return, a red ribbon for the determination of thousands to get an accounting for our missing, a candle for the unconquerable spirit of the POW, a slice of lemon for the bitter fate, salt for the tears, an inverted glass and empty chair for they can not be with us tonight.
Guests from each branch of the military were introduced as their theme songs were played: Marines, Army, First Battalion, 148th Infantry Regiment, Air Force, the Navy, and the Coast Guard.
After dinner and dancing, many migrated to the Sports Grill and Tavern to share stories.
The evening was made possible thanks to sponsors that included The Blade, The Hylant Group, the University of Toledo, Jim Knapp, Larry Ryczek, Mike Hensien, Mike Holmes, and the nearly 50 dinner sponsors including club president Joseph Zerbey IV, president and general manager of The Blade. Thanks go to committee members Mr. Goetz, Bruce Foster, Bob Lynch, David Quinn, Jim Knapp and Thomas Uhler.
Most of all, thanks to all of our servicemen, current and past.
United States Marine Corps Color Guard-
Sergeant Joy John Valeriano
Corporal Scot Arnold
Lance Corporal Zachary Garcia
Lance Corporal Robert McBee
United States Marines:
Captain Charles Hayter
Sergeant Shawn Campbell and Ms. Shannon Ferguson
Sergeant Brett Brice and Mrs. Gabriel Brice
Lance Corporal Shawn Baker
United States Army
Toledo Army Recruiting Company:
Captain Joseph A. Chavis
ROTC University of Toledo:
Major William C. Wedley and Natasha Wedley (Mrs.?)
Cadet Captain David Hritz
Cadet Captain Tyler Akers
First Batalion, 148th Infantry Regiment-
Sergeant First Class Wesley Martz and Mrs. Carey Martz
Seargeant Julian Verdungo and Mrs. Laura Verdungo
Sergeant Aaron Zdawczyk and Mrs. Sarah Zdawczyk
United States Air Force
Colonel Steven S. Nordhaus, Commander, 180th Fighter Wing, and Mrs. Shannon Nordhaus
Major Bentley, Executve Officer, and Mrs. Sue Bentley
Colonel Scott Reed and Mrs Mary Reed
Colonel William Giezie and Mrs. Jennifer Giezie
Commander Master Sergeant Tracy Troxel and Mrs. Cheryl Troxel
LTC Chris Belli, 112th Fighter Squadron, Assistant Director of Operations, and Mrs. Marney Belli.
United States Navy-
Commanding Officer, of NOSC Toledo: LCDR Vidal Valentin, and Mrs. Yenny Camargo and Ms. Andrea Camargo
Lt. JG Haraz N. Ghanbari, USN, Military and Media Liaison, University of Toledo
United States Coast Guard-
LCDR Charles J. Bright, Commanding Officer, and Mrs. Sarah Bright
LT John E. Adkins, Executive Officer
MST2 Peter Uselton and Ms. Emily Ford
BMCS Jay Galazin, Station Toledo Bay View
MBI Stephen Loudermilk, Station Toledo Bay View and PO3 Jessica Loudermilk (Retired USCG)
MKI John Curtin, Toledo Bay View, and Mrs. Nicol Curtin