Buffalo Island Central honors area veterans
Buffalo Island Central EAST Initiative students, under the direction of Jill Sanders, hosted the annual Veterans Day Program, 2017 on Thursday, Nov. 9.
Area veterans were invited to the assembly held at the MAC.
For the third year, students chose veterans to be named to the BIC Veterans Hall of Fame. The 2015 recipient was Sergeant James Butler. The 2016 honoree was Private John Paul Masner.
Students chose three veterans to be inducted into the Veteran's Hall of Fame. Each one was honored with a Hall of Fame Video talking about their service to their country and their service to their communities. The men honored were Private Claud Earl Barnett, Sr., Specialist E5 Gary Romec, and Corporal Arthur Phelps. Mr. Phelps also served as the guest speaker for the event.
Mr. Barnett served in the United States Army during World War II. He has also devoted more than 70 years of service to the City of Monette and the Monette Fire Department.
Mr. Romec has served his country in the United States Army with the 9th Infantry Division for six years. He also worked for the Federal Bureau of Prisons for more than 26 years.
Mr. Phelps served in the United States Army during the Korean War with the 25th Infantry Division. He has served as a pastor in the Northeast Arkansas area for 54 years.
Members of the Monette American Legion Post 136 presented the Colors. They are Bob Chambers, Dickie Pace, Commander Brandon Decker, and Larry Rolland.
Other students participating in the program were Chris Renteria offering the welcome, Eli Cordero and Taylor Cole presenting the Veteran Tribute Video; Jace Couch presenting Mr. Burnett's Hall of Fame Video; Hannah Turner and Kaylly Deeds presented Mr. Romec Hall of Fame Video; Leo Perez singing “God Bless the USA,” Cadyn Qualls offering Mr. Phelps Hall of Fame Video; Seth Church playing Taps, and the BIC Band playing the National Anthem and America the Beautiful. The BIC Band also played a salute to all branches of the military as veterans from each branch stood.
Several guests attended from the VA in Memphis. Several veterans living at Monette Manor attended the ceremony accompanied by the staff and administration.
Mr. Phelps thanked Mrs. Sanders and her students for the program honoring veterans.
He shared his experience during the Korean War and the unit he served with.
“I wear this hat (Korean Veteran hat) not to brag but because the Korean War has been known as the forgotten war,” Phelps said. “We who were there will never forget. It was called a police action. But remember, it was a war.”
He spoke to the group about the importance of writing letters to those serving.
He said he was too young to serve in World War II but served in Korea. He said he told his father he was going to join the Army and he told him to do what he needed to do.
“I liked serving in the Army,” he said. “I got extended a year and that was okay. I want to thank every one here and every veteran.”
He encouraged the students to know where Korea is located and what it was.
“Men and women gave their lives for these children,” he said. “People serve to preserve our National Freedom. Student, enjoy your freedom. Men and women are still fighting to keep freedom.”
Phelps shared some of his experiences during his service.
“I am proud to be a veteran and I am proud to be here today,” Phelps said.
Dickie Pace talked about the flat and what it has meant through the years.
“Many men and women have given their lives,” he said. “The flag is important to our military. We will fold this flag in honor of men and women who gave their lives for this country.”
He encouraged the students to respect it and stand for it.
A reception was held in the hospitality room for veterans and guests.