September 8, 2005

John Cook Completes Motorcycle Tour de Capitals

It took the Memphis motorcycle enthusiast approximately two years to travel by bike to 49 of the United States state capitals, lacking only a motorcycle boat to get to Hawaii.

Lance Armstrong has made the Tour de France famous. A bike tour of a different variety has gained a Memphis man some notoriety of his own.

Its not like John Cook needs his love of motorcycles to make him known in this community. John and his wife Maxine have owned and operated Cooks Mens Store, a well-known western apparel store for 40 years.

But those in the community that didnt encounter John in the store or via his various other community service projects such as Rotary, surely saw the man riding his motorcycle in the parades.

He wasnt showing off. John simply found the love of riding and is more than willing to take advantage of just about any excuse to fire up his ride and head down the road.

Cook blames his love of riding on the fact that he started so late in life. John was 40 years old before he owned his first ride.

I just finally got exposed to the sport then, he said. I had a pretty large group of friends who all had motorcycles at this time and they all kept coming by and trying to get me revved up.

So John finally took the plunge. But it was a relatively small leap, as he shelled out $50 bucks to buy a small size 50 motorcycle.

He rode that for a couple of weeks and was hooked. The industry reeled in their newest catch, as Cook began upgrading, moving up to a 100 c.c. engine, then on to a 125, a 175, a 350, a 550, a 1000, a 1100 and then his 1200 10th Anniversary American Gold Wing.

Its just like any other hobby, fishing, hunting, golfing Cook said. We all have our interests, and for me its definitely riding a motorcycle.

In 1974 he started touring on his 550 Honda, traveling with his brother Charles to Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Colorado. They even traveled to the little known town of Sturgis, South Dakota where Cook joined with some 5,000 other motorcycle enthusiasts. Last year, the 63rd annual Sturgis rally drew nearly half a million bikers.

John enjoyed the sport so much he decided to share the fun with Maxine. Together the couple rode across the United States, Canada and even in Mexico.

The riding around all over our great country, thats simply the best, John said. We have seen some many different places thanks to riding, yet we are so thankful that we still live in the best part. Still, I love to ride.

Cook doesnt use the term love, loosely when he refers to riding his motorcycle. How else could one explain a man celebrating his 65th birthday by departing on a two-year quest to ride his bike to all of the state capitals in the United States?

The marathon began innocently enough back in 1998. On May 17, John departed from Memphis heading west. His first stop was Topeka, KS. He went on to Oklahoma City. Stop two on the 49 capital tour was made more memorable by his viewing of the bombed-out Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

While the site of the terrorist bombing dampened Cooks spirits some, he was reinvigorated by what he called the beautiful scenery on the road to Santa Fe, NM. Phoenix, AZ, was the next stop before John departed on one of the longest rides of his adventure, the 1,020 miles to Austin, TX.

That ride was hard on me, Cook said. It was kind of funny because it bugged me, until I finally told myself that it was a thousand miles, and I really didnt have to do it all in one day.

Between Texas and Louisianna, John experienced his first setback. He miscalculated on his fuel, and actually ran out of gasoline. Fortunately he was rescued by a passerby.

A nice young man stopped and brought me some gas, Cook said. We got to talking, and the fellow related what his father had told him, that anytime you go someplace new, you always learn something. Thats stuck with me on my trips.

Refueled, Cook pressed on to Baton Rouge and then turned north for the return trip, stopping in Little Rock, AR, before hitting Jefferson City, MO.

It was in his own state capital that Cook came across the book that became his guide on the quest. He was visiting with the folks in the souvenir shop, when one pointed out a book, The Capitals of the United States. John purchased a copy, which highlighted each states capital building. Now the book includes Johns own additions, as it has become somewhat of a scrapbook with photos taken by Cook at each of his stops.

On May 25, Johns 1500 Honda crossed the city limits of Memphis. In eight and a half days he had ridden 4,302 miles and visited nine state capitals on stage one of his tour.

After his visit to the southwest, John next mapped out the second leg of his journey, this time heading northeast.

On June 21, Cook departed from Memphis heading east. Springfield, IL was the first stop. Then it was on to Indianapolis, IN, followed by Columbus, OH. Cook made a pit stop in Brookville, PA, where he stayed at a friends home. He resumed the quest as he made it to Harrisburg before journeying into our nations capital, Washington, D.C.

That was definitely a challenge because of the road designs, Cook said. Its shaped like a wagon wheel with all kinds of one-way streets. But still I got to see all the national monuments and all of the history.

The history lesson continued as John made his way to Annapolis, MD, the site of the oldest state capital in the U.S., Dover, DE and Trenton, NJ, were two more stops as Cook said he found himself amazed that he was wandering among buildings with such history, like in Maryland, where George Washington had actually resigned his post as Commander and Chief of the Continental army back in 1783. He marveled at the four towers of marble and granite that comprised the Hartford, CT, capital building.

After hitting Providence, RI, and Boston, MA, John finally began to ride out of the urban sprawl of the east coast. He still couldnt avoid the crowds though, as his misfortunate timing placed him in Concord, New Hampshire at the same time as a big NASCAR race, making it impossible to find a hotel room.

John continued north and hit Augusta, ME, and then stopped at Montpelier Vermont.

This was the only one of the 49 state capitals that I didnt either walk around or ride around, Cook said. I couldnt, because the building is actually built into the side of a mountain.

From there the journey turned to Albany, NY, before John headed to Buffalo, NY, and got to see Niagara Falls. He continued through Canada on a straight line for Lansing, MI. He then turned back south and traveled through Chicago on the return to Memphis where he arrived July 3.

The East Coast was amazing with its history, its huge ports and giant ships, Cook said. The ocean and the mountains made it a very nice trip that I would have enjoyed much more without my mishap in Pennsylvania.

An accident in the Keystone state left Cook with broken ribs, making the last 3,000 miles of the ride a little uncomfortable.

Still he completed the 12-day trek, covering 3,967 miles and 15 more state capitals.

Leg three of the five-stage trip started August 2 when Cook again departed Memphis, this time heading north to Des Moines, IA. He learned a little about politics in the gold-domed capital building where an engraved sign reads Nothing is politically correct that is morally wrong.

The northern tour went on to Madison, WI, and St. Paul, MN. Bismark, ND, presented an enjoyable ride across the northern plains. Cook admired the capital building as he approached the city, noting it is the tallest of all state capitals, standing 19 stories tall.

Cook was able to admire the length of the Missouri River as he paralleled the massive body of water on his way to Pierre, SD. Of course, it was August, so John made a detour to Sturgis to check out the biker rally before heading on to Lincoln, NE.

Cook covered 2,402 miles on the five-day excursion and will tell you that the midwest ride is definitely his favorite.

Stage four was the most ambitious thus far. Cook took off April 19, 1999 and headed southeast for what would be more than 4,000 miles on his motorcycle.

Nashville, TN, was stop #1 followed by Atlanta, GA, and Montgomery, AL.

Cook got to view two state capitals in Tallahassee, as Florida not only has a new modern building but also maintains the original capital building, restored to its original condition.

A strong desire to see Key West sent Cook on a detour across Alligator Alley and down the states west coast to his farthest southern stop. He returned up the east coast and on to Savannah, GA and then Columbia, SC. Here Cook saw the brass markers that represented canon shells that had hit the building during the Civil War.

Raleigh, NC, and Richmond, VA, had Cook two more stops closer to his goal.

But the cyclist found his trip soured by a call from home. He received word that his mother had passed away. That cut short his visit with friends in Lynchburg, VA, as he jumped on his bike that evening and rode until he had to stop for sleep. He made it back through Charleston, WV and Frankfurt, KY, before getting back home May 26. He covered 4,158 miles in eight days.

But that proved to be nothing compared to the final leg of the quest. A week later, John and a friend, Jerry Speer, departed Memphis to hit the remaining spots in the northwest.

Cook questioned if he was not getting a little soft as the first day on the road the duo hit rain. It was not the only roadblock Mother Nature would provide.

They made it to Cheyenne, WY, but hit a huge windstorm that nearly blew them off course on the way to Boise, ID. It turned cold as they crossed the narrow mountain roads en route to Helena, MT.

They kept going north, crossing into Canada on the way to Alaska. They headed for Calgary, riding along the Columbia Ice Field.

They took a break at Pink Mountain and awoke from a nights sleep at a motel to 18 inches of snow. They were stalled for nearly three days by more than 20 inches of snow.

They made up for the layover with a hard day of riding.

When we pulled into the motel, I was cleaning bugs off my windshield and kept wondering why I was so tired, Then I looked at my watch and saw it was 10:30 p.m., but the sun was still up. Thats the first time Ive ever went to bed with the sun still up.

The two bikers finally made it to Juneau, AK, and then turned around and headed back to the good old USA.

It was kind of interesting as I was sitting there in Alaska to stop and think, just a month or so before that I had been all the way across the nation down in the Florida Keys, Cook said.

The next stop was Olympia, WA, before hitting Salem, OR, and Sacramento, CA. Carson City, NV, and Salt Lake City, UT, were stops 47 and 48 before the final destination of Denver, CO. was reached.

Twenty days later the two men returned home after covering more than 7,700 miles on their motorcycles.

I always get asked, which one is the prettiest, Cook said. Well, thats sort of like judging a queen contest, I mean you just cant pick one over another as they are all so amazing.

Regardless of all of his stops on the 59-day, 23,000 miles adventure, Cook never had any doubt what his favorite sight was.

I saw so many beautiful things on my trips, but none compares to getting that first look at home when you finally get back, he said.

With his obvious love for home, one might wonder why Cook undertook the massive trip.

It was a challenge- and I won, Cook said. As a kid, I always wished my horse could have wings so that I could ride every place. On the highway, I realized God had given me my Gold Wing very humbling.

Jauflione Chapter NSDAR Hosts Memorial Service for Care Center Veterans

Tuesday, May 15th, the  Jauflione Chapter DAR members honored veterans living at the Scotland County Care Center and the Residential Care Facility with a Memorial Day Service.

A candle lighting ceremony honoring deceased veterans who had resided at the Care Center was conducted. Those honored were: Richard Allen, Clifford Wilson, Sterling Forrester, Vern Howard, Larry Fulk, and Warren Hocker.

Resident Veterans attending the ceremony were: Johnny Erickson, Charles King, Lloyd Arps, Donald Newcomb, Helen Cary, Charles Alexander, Bob Hatferty, and, Lee Wheeler. Other guest veterans attending were: Emmett Phillips, Oren Erickson, and Patricia Miller. Lee Wheeler, a resident attended wearing a military uniform.

Light refreshments of cookies and punch were served by Jauflione members. Those members were: Jeannie Bissell, Connie Bratton, Angel Chance, Nelda Billups, Maxine Phillips, Linda Larsen, Terry Arnold, Patricia Miller, Rhonda Davis, and June Kice.

Service to Veterans is a DAR objective. Jauflione Chapter is pleased to honor Veterans of our community.

Gorin American Legion Post Plans Memorial Day Gathering

The Leslie Chambers #395 Gorin American Legion Post will be hosting its annual Memorial Day gathering on Sunday, May 27th.

There will be a carry-in dinner at 12:30 p.m. at the Gorin Christian Church with a program following the dinner. The Post will present military services at the Gorin Cemetery at 2:00 p.m. and everyone is invited.

County, Mapping Solutions to Host Public Hearing May 30th to Close out 911 Addressing Project

Just over three years after the proposal initially was approved by the Scotland County Commission, the 911 addressing and mapping project for the region will officially come to a close on May 30th.

Service provider Mapping Solutions will join with the Scotland County Commission to host a public hearing on Wednesday evening, May 30th at 6 p.m. in the Scotland County courtroom.

Anyone wishing to give feedback on the project or seeking answers to addressing questions is welcome to attend the public meeting.

On May 13, 2015, the Scotland County Commission voted 3-0 to enter a two-year, $45,000 contract with Mapping Solutions of Lathrop to create the new 911 mapping system for the county.

The company constructed a grid-based map using established east-west and north-south coordinates and assigned five-digit numbers assigned consecutively from the grid origin point, which is the northwest corner of the county. The address numbering increment was 5.28′ which allows for 1,000 unique numbered addresses per mile. This increment is recommended by NENA (National Emergency Number Association).

The new addresses first went into effect in September of 2017, replacing the old rural route mailing address for county residents with the five-digit house numbers and the corresponding county road number.

Hospital Recognizes Employees’ Years of Service, Awards Scholarship

Lynn Fincher (45 years) and Debbie Ward (40 years) were honored by the Scotland County Hospital Employee Committee for their loyalty and dedication to the hospital. They are pictured with Dr. Randy Tobler, CEO, Scotland County Hospital & Clinics.

The Scotland County Hospital (SCH) Employee Committee in Memphis recognized employees for their years of service with the organization and awarded service pins this month during National Hospital Week.  The Hospital is in its 48th year of providing healthcare services in the community and opened its doors on July 20, 1970.

There are several employees at SCH that have been loyal to the organization for multiple decades and received service pins this year.  At the top of that list, working 45 years is Lynn Fincher.  She earned her 45-year pin while Debbie Ward earned a 40-year pin.

Ms. Fincher is a native of Glenwood and lives in Memphis.  She started her career with SCH in April 1973.  Her first position was in Medical Records.  She then moved to the Registration Department and in 1980 she became the Supervisor of the Business Office.  Next on the list of long time hospital employees is Debbie Ward of rural Memphis.  She joined the hospital staff in June 1978 after completing nursing school.  She became the Operating Room Supervisor in 1984 and is now a staff nurse in the Surgery Center.

Next on the list of long time hospital employees is Angela Schmitter earning a 25 year pin. She is the Director of Health Information/ Compliance Officer. Twenty year pins were presented to Jean Hull from Registration & Admissions; Jennifer McMinn from Therapy Services and Diane Tague, Ancillary Services Assistant.

The Employee Committee recognizes employees, annually, with service pins in five year increments.  Other employees receiving pins this year include: 15 year pins – Thelma Norton, Ella Neagle & Ryan Elliott.  10 year pins – Jennifer Folker, Shelly Girardin, Berniece Kenny, Rodney Baldwin, Tonya Harrison, Kerri Shirkey, Jason Moss, Tammy Wheeler, Bethanie Grubb, Kristi Frederick, Robert Miller and Dr. Julia McNabb. 5 year pins – Travis Onken, Lindsie Kelley, Tara Neeves, Missy Smith, Kaitlin Grubb, Katie Tuck, Stephanie Henley-Pippert, Jonathan Holton, Trinity Davis, Dave McGinnis & Dr. Lisa Rollison.

The Scotland County Hospital Employee Committee awarded a $500 scholarship to Knox County High School Senior, Lindsey Alexander who plans to attend the University of Missouri – Kansas City and study in the anesthesiologist assistant program. She is pictured with Alisa Kigar from Scotland County Hospital & Clinics.

Recently, the Scotland County Hospital Employee Committee awarded a $500 scholarship to a Knox County High School Senior, Lindsey Alexander.  Ms. Alexander  is attending University of Missouri – Kansas City and plans to study in the anesthesiologist assistant program.  She is the daughter of Stacy & Lora Alexander of Edina.  Each year the SCH Employee Committee offers the scholarship to one student that applies from either Clark, Knox, Scotland or Schuyler County school districts.  This year the Employee Committee reviewed nine scholarship applications from the four school districts.  Because hospital employees come from all of these counties, it’s only fitting to offer the scholarship in these four school districts.

Irritable Jowl Syndrome

I once made a ‘feller’ down around Rutledge, MO so mad, with one of my letters to the editor, that he went into the “Constricting Heaves”, which then caused “Abdominal Vapors”, complicated by “Carbonic Bunions” on his toes! He hopped around for three weeks, like a ‘Frozen Toed Rooster’, until he finally calmed down!

Yes, I seem to have that effect on some folks, especially when I pen one of my well-written, provocative, yet witty, letters to the editor!

Take what happened to my friend (he still is by the way) Chris Feeney, editor of the Memphis Democrat.

Upon reading my recent letter “The Board of One Accord”, Chris had smoke rings coming out of his ears! He went into “Bilious Spleen Vapors”, which then progressed into “Irritable Jowl Syndrome”!

This sad situation got started by the article in the Memphis Democrat “City Marshal Position in Question Following April Election”.

First, let me say at this point, that I have nothing personal against any city council member. And I have NEVER said anything against Bill Holland. I think he is a good man.

I also know, that it isn’t easy, being a city council member, or for that matter the member of a hospital board, school board, or even some church committees. It can be frustrating, and make one feel that it is a thankless job.

I expressed some ‘misgivings’ I had about the article ‘in question’. It just sounded to me like the city council wielded a proverbial “Sword of Damocles” over the position! With the power of the ‘purse strings’ for example, and the example of a past city collector position being done away with by simply defunding the position.

There also seemed to be an inordinate fear of, what candidate, the voters might elect.

Now, if I’ve got it wrong, I apologize. I just don’t know why these things would be alluded to, if not for the purpose of eliminating what the “Board of One Accord” considered to be an obsolete office. Obviously the voters felt differently. The big difference here, is that the county collector position is still an elected office.

Now, back to Chris’s malady of “Irritable Jowl Syndrome”. You never know what he might say next! Downright mean stuff!

I’m ‘gutshot’ over those “Peanut Gallery” remarks Chris! I mean, damn, now everyone thinks of me as being like that “Lounge Lizard” over at the Texas Road House, that just hangs out in the waiting area, gobbling buckets full of peanuts, all the while hurling insults at the paying customers as they come in! Shish! (Actually this could be partly true.)

And, I am still reeling from that “non-resident” tirade of yours Chris! To me, it sounded a lot like Obama’s “You Didn’t Build That” speech. Gosh… you don’t talk like that to the guys on the police department, and they’re not residents of Memphis either.

Furthermore, I’m heartbroken, over those mean comments about my personal hygiene problems. That hurts!

I’ll have you know, that where I grew up, we didn’t even wear shoes or socks all summer! Socks are important to me now.

And, so what, if I do get a “little Gamey” toward the end of the week. I want you to know that I take a bath every Saturday nite, whether I need it or not! (goin’ swimmin’ counts as bath.)

So… you readers oughta tune in next week to see what “slings and arrows of misfortune” ‘mean Chris’ will throw at me, Dave, a poor non-resident of Memphis, who is diligently striving for World Peace and Harmony!

Cipherin‘:

When you add up the votes.

The side that wins, is the one with the most.

“What if it’s a tie?” someone jokes.

Them I’m takin’ the last train to the coast!

At least I’ll still have the Father, Son and Holy Ghost!

Davis M. Burrus

New Replacement Trees Planted by Rutledge School Restoration Society

One more entry has been removed from the bucket list of the Rutledge School Restoration Society. Bob Hunolt, Lonnie Triplett, Oren Erickson, and Leon Trueblood recently rounded up their spades, water buckets, and measuring sticks to get two new American Linden trees planted (exactly as instructions for planting read) in the school yard.

These trees, when fully grown, will graciously replace the ever-popular Ash and Maple trees which, until early spring this year, had graced the school lawn for many decades. It was determined by the utility company the trees were a detriment to the electrical lines, so they had to go.

Thanks to Aaron Dannenhauer, the stumps were removed; and the sawdust from this grinding has appropriately mulched the new trees. The nursery-provided information claims the new trees to be well-adapted to Missouri daily weather change… so with hopes for fast growth, there will be shade on the Rutledge School lawn once again!

Three Teens Hurt When Vehicle Crashes Into Bridge

Three area teenagers were injured in a one-vehicle crash in Schuyler County at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 17th west of Greentop.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Allyssia J. Jackson, 17 of Queen City, was southbound on Ranch Road when she lost control of the 2003 Ford Escape on the gravel and collided with a bridge rail. The vehicle ran off the right side of the roadway, collided with a bridge support and overturned.

Jackson suffered moderate injuries in the crash as did a passenger in the vehicle, Paige A. Humphrey, 15, of Queen City. A second passenger in the car, Cobe J. Coop, 18, of Memphis suffered minor injuries.

Jackson and Humphrey were transported by Schuyler County Ambulance to Northeast Regional Medical Center in Kirksville. Coop was taken by private vehicle to the Kirksville hospital.

The vehicle sustained moderate damage in the accident and was removed from the scene by Lakeside Towing of Memphis.

The Patrol was assisted at the scene by the Schuyler County Ambulance Service and the Schuyler County Sheriff’s Office.

Memphis Man Killed in Crash Near Arbela

A Memphis man was killed and another seriously injured in a two vehicle accident over the weekend in rural Scotland County.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Harley D. Stone, 24, of Memphis was killed when the 2015 Polaris Can Am all-terrain vehicle he was driving collided with a pickup truck on a hill crest on County Road 456 west of Arbela.

The Stone vehicle was eastbound when it crested the hill and met at the center of the road a westbound 2001 Dodge truck driven by Christopher M. Chabert, 29, of Memphis.

Stone and a passenger in his vehicle, Jacob A. Blessing, 21, of Memphis both were ejected from the ATV. Stone was pronounced deceased at the scene at 4:40 a.m. by Scotland County Coroner Dr. Jeff Davis. Blessing sustained serious injuries in the crash. He was transported by Scotland County Ambulance to University Hospital in Columbia.

Chabert was not injured in the crash, which occurred at 4:00 a.m. on May 20th. Chabert was ticketed for driving while intoxicated.

The Patrol was assisted at the scene by Scotland County Fire and Rescue, Scotland County Ambulance and Scotland County Sheriff’s Office.

SCR-I Band to Make ‘Long March’ to Washington DC to Take Part in National Memorial Day Parade

As residents of a rural school district, Scotland County R-I students are used to long bus rides. However on Thursday, some three dozen SCR-I musicians will be boarding a bus for a trip that will exceed their bus mileage for the year, just one-way.

At 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 24th the Scotland County R-I band, along with support staff, boosters and chaperones will be boarding a charter bus departing the SCR-I high school parking lot bound for Washington D.C. The public is invited to line the road to show the band support on its departure.

“Last minute preparations are well underway as the Marching Tigers are putting on the finishing touches on their performance,” said band Director Nathanial Orr. “You may even hear the band marching around town.”

The trip to the nation’s capital is more than 900 miles, with the group expecting to arrive on the East Coast  in time for lunch on Friday.

After the meal with tour manager Barbara Longnecker at Union Station, the group will take a tour of the U.S. Capitol before enjoying dinner at Bertucci’s Italian Restaurant. That evening the group will be treated to a parade at the Marine Barracks featuring the US Marine Band in full dress uniform.

Saturday will feature a full day of tours including stops at Lafayette Square, the White House and the National Archives Building, home of the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and the Constitution.

After lunch they will visit Ford’s Theater where President Lincoln was assassinated before touring Arlington National Cemetery to witness the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The evening will conclude with tours of the US Air Force and Pentagon 9/11 Memorials, as well as the Jefferson, FDR and Martin Luther King, Jr. memorials.

The nation’s history will be on display again on Sunday as tour members will visit the Lincoln, and Vietnam and Korean War memorials as well as the US Holocaust Memorial Museum before spending the afternoon at the Smithsonian Institution’s museums. The evening will be capped off at the National Memorial Day Concert on the west lawn of the Capitol. The event will broadcast live on PBS.

Finally on Monday, the band members will get to work, participating in the National Memorial Day Parade.

“The band will be performing ‘Colonel Bogey March,’ a tune featured in ‘Bridge over a River Kwai’,” said Orr. “The color guard will be wearing homemade uniforms representing a different branch of the armed services.  Each member of the guard has a connection as parts of the uniform they will be wearing are from the uniform of their family members.”

Orr said the parade will be televised on the Armed Forces Network as well as streamed on YouTube.com, Military.com or NationalMemorialDayParade.com.

“Due to time constraints and commercial breaks, there is no guarantee that SCR-I will be televised,” he said.

Later that evening, the group will visit the World War II Memorial and place a Scotland County High School wreath at the base of the Missouri state marker.

Tuesday, day 6 of the event, will feature a trip to Mount Vernon, before boarding the tour bus at 2 p.m. for the return trip to Memphis. The group is expected to arrive back home Wednesday, May 30th around 9 a.m.

The trip has been made possible through the hard work of the band students and boosters as well as the generous contributions of local supporters. Work began last May after word was received the band had received the honor of participating in the national event. Numerous fundraisers were held over the next 12 months to fully fund the more than $1,000 price tag per band member for the trip.

Larry Gieseke to Address 72nd Annual Memorial Day Services

Larry Gieseke will be the featured speaker on Monday as the Wallace W. Gillespie Memorial Post #4958 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars hosts the 72nd Annual Memorial Day Services on the lawn of the Scotland County Courthouse.

The services will begin at 10 a.m. with Post Commander Lloyd Erickson and program chairman Donnie Middleton welcoming the crowd.

Veterans Floyd C. Baker and Mike Stephenson will perform the traditional wreath placement at the soldiers’ memorial on the southeast side of the courthouse. Fellow serviceman Bill Camp will lead the gathering in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Sonny Smyser of the Lancaster Church of Faith  will lead the invocation prior to the performance of the National Anthem by the Memphis Community Players, who will also provide additional patriotic music for the service.

Judge Gary Dial will again have the honor of introducing the service’s guest speaker.

Following Gieseke’s speech, veteran Jamie Parker will sing Sleep Soldier Boy.

Following the benediction by Smyser, the VFW members will present a 21 gun salute before the performance of taps by service member Melinda Briggs with ECHO played by Chris Kempke.

The service is open to the public. In case of inclement weather, the program will be moved indoors at the VFW post.

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