CLEARFIELD – Veterans and active military personnel were honored during Armed Forces Awareness Day on Saturday at the ClearfieldDrivingPark.
A special ceremony was held at the David H. Litz Grove Stage that was sponsored by the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 974 of Clearfield. The Masters of Ceremonies were Ed Hullihen and Steve Koval.
The Jack Avery & George D. Montgomery Post 17 American Legion Concert Band provided patriotic music. Heather Woodel-Olson and J.J. Bungo also provided patriotic musical selections.
Guest speakers included Sam Ickes, Army Ranger/Military Police, and State Rep. Tommy Sankey. Ickes’ military career had been over and then America experienced 9/11. Those events inspired him to return to serving his country, and he’ll be medically retired due to the severe injuries he’s sustained during his service.
“I had a speech prepared but then I realized that I was standing among heroes and patriots,” said Sankey. “We don’t say congratulations. We say thank you.
“I’ve never served in the military but enjoy the fruits of all of your labor. We – as Americans – all drink from the fountain of freedom, and very few of us had a hand in building it.”
Sankey continued, “I appreciate the Armed Forces. My heart is with all of you on a personal level. I’ll do anything possible to help you. On a political level, you have my unquestioned, unconditional support. I stand behind you.”
During the ceremony, Clearfield County Sheriff Chester Hawkins was recognized for his service. He has been serving as sheriff since 1978 and will be retiring. Hawkins was “honored” to be invited to Armed Forces Awareness Day and wasn’t expecting any special recognition. He said it was a blessing to serve as sheriff and to meet “many good people.”
Other speakers were the Rev. John White who gave the invocation, and the Rev. Bob Ackey, a U.S. Navy veteran, who gave the benediction.