One of the largest crowds in recent history braved near-freezing conditions during the annual Veterans Day ceremony to pay tribute to brave military members, including 174 who died in the past year.

Nearly 300 people — about 50 more than last year — gathered at the Bartholomew County Memorial for Veterans at 11 a.m. Saturday for an hour-long ceremony that embraced reverence and remembrance.

Following tradition, a balloon was released as each name was read of the 174 former service men and women from Bartholomew County who died during the past year.

While down from 191 names last year, the total was close to the average during the past five years.

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Special reverence was reserved for Army Sgt. Jonathon Michael Hunter, 23, of Columbus, the 2011 Columbus East High School graduate who died in the line of duty Aug. 2 in southern Afghanistan while guarding a NATO convoy near Kandahar.

He was the first active Bartholomew County serviceman to be honored during the annual ceremony in eight years.

Guest speaker U.S. Sen. Todd Young, R-Indiana, a Marine from 1995 to 2000, met privately for several minutes after the ceremony with Hunter’s mother, Kimberly Thompson, and her husband, Brian Thompson, of Nashville.

“While most Gold Star parents know their son or daughter will be remembered for their service, they also want to talk about their good qualities and personalities,” Young said after the ceremony. “They want them to be remembered in a more textured way, in order for others to understand the gravity of their loss.”

Besides thinking of his son, Sgt. Hunter’s father, Mark Hunter of Columbus, said he was also reflecting Saturday on the military service offered by six other close family members, his brother, aunt, nephew and several cousins.

Young’s comments during the program included a brief story about a Gold Star mother from elsewhere in Indiana who had given him a bracelet to wear on Saturday in honor her son son, which he did.

The names of a number of esteemed Bartholomew County business and community leaders were on this year’s list to be read, including:

Merrill Clouse, Hope, community leader and businessman. Served in Army, 1942-1946. Died April 13 at age 95.

Paul Dinkins, Columbus, former president and chairman of Irwin Union Bank and Trust Company. Served in Navy, 1941-1945. Died Aug. 21 at age 97.

Robert Hayes,Columbus, former Indiana state representative. Served in Navy, 1956-1958. Died May 2 at age 83.

Glen Keller, Hope, former Flatrock-Hawcreek School Corp. superintendent. Served in Army, 1955-1957. Died Sept. 1 at age 84.

The military experience often creates a mindset that leads veterans to give a lifetime of public service, which has been essential in the growth of the community, Veterans Day Committee member Zack Ellison said.

Two additional deaths in the past year will be felt by local veteran organizations for some time, since both men had worked on their behalf for decades.

They were former Bartholomew County Veterans Affairs officer Thomas Jester of Hope, who died Feb. 13 at age 83; and Republic columnist county historian Harry McCawley, Columbus, died Sept. 28 at age 77.

It was the first ceremony in decades without McCawley providing “the beacon of light to lead us through the clouds,” master of ceremonies John Foster said. “We miss Harry’s wry smile and his chuckle, and will remember him always.”

Each of the 174 names read Saturday represented an individual who was significant and important in his or her own right.

Among them were David R. Greiwe, who served in the U.S. Coast Guard from 1967 to 1971.

The long-time Cummins Inc. employee was the first in his family to serve in the military, to graduate from college, and to survive three different episodes of cancer, said his widow, Judy Greiwe.

Greiwe, 67, of Columbus, died March 20.

“He never gave up,” Judy Greiwe said. “He was a great man.”

Retired Columbus North choral director Janie Gordon, who returned to sing the national anthem after an absence of several years, said she was also thinking about loved ones during the ceremony.

“My father, Bob Losure, was a sergeant in the Army, and my brother has served as a Marine,” Gordon said. “So I love being here to do my part.”

Gordon is a past recipient of the Patriot Award, presented by the Honoring Veterans Committee in Bartholomew County.

Names of honored

These are the names of the 174 Bartholomew County residents who have died in the past 12 months that were remembered and honored Saturday for their service to our country during the annual Veterans Day service.

U.S. Army Sgt. Jonathon Michael Hunter

Averil Lynn Axsom

Stanley L. Adams

Alan Lee Allen

Michael Lewis Arford

James E. Baker

William E. Barlow Jr.

Norman Perry Barr

Terry E. Beck

Philip E. Bender

Dan S. Bennett

Rev. Edward L. Bennett

James W. Bense

Harlan Bergsieker Jr.

Louis A. Beuse

Robert Billany

Larry James Billings

Leland Thomas “Tom” Bostic

Michael L. Bower

Hargus Brewer Jr.

Lawrence A. Brock

Donald E. Brown

John W. Burgeson

Maurice Von Burton

Robert C. Calderone

Howard A. Camden

Alfred W. Carey Jr.

Donald R. Carey

Gerald E. Carvin

Webster Childers Jr.

Merrill John Clouse

Bruce A. Conner

Guy “Rex” Cook

Cecil Edward Cox

Joseph Donald Cox

Melvin Ray Crawley

Michael Lee Crippen

Dale E. Croucher

James L. Crouse

R.L. Davidson

Russell J. Dean

Donald D. Denny

Paul N. Dinkins

Gerald L. Dix

James Warren Downen

Donald Jeffrey Dugan

William Joseph Duke

David Lee Duncan

Richard H. Emmert

Howard Empson

Charles Edward England Sr.

Bobby L. Evans

Delbert W. Evans

Robert H. Everroad

William Ferguson

Anthony G. Fields

Roy L. Findley

John R. Fischer

Dorothy M. Follett

Gordon A. Fouts

Luther Paul Francis

Raymond V. Frede

Ronald L. Freese

James A. Friedrich

Richard M. Gardner

Jeanette Lynn Gibson

Ernest Gilpin

Ira Harold Green

David R. Greiwe

Richard E. Grider

Eddie L. Grigsby

Dempsey E. Grissom

Larry D. Guthrie

William R. Gutknecht

Ronald D. Harrison

Steven K. “Shaker” Harrison

Robert Dean Harvey

Wendel W. Hauck

Robert E. Hayes

Daryl A. Hemmings

Kenneth A. Hilderbrand

William V. Hill

George William Hitchcock

Jack E. Holden

Jonathan W. Holley

William R. Hovden

Clyde Dale Hoy

Melvin Ray Huntington

Charles C. Hurt

Marion N. Huseby

Thomas Eugene Jester

David W. Jones

Max K. Joslin

Glen S. Keller

Robert L. Kelley Sr.

Donald R. Lawless

Donald F. Lienhoop

Edward J. Love Sr.

Truman L. Lovins

William H. Lovins

Robert D. Lucas

Darrell K. Mace

Clarence Eugene Majors

Larry D. Mankin

Brent T. Mason

Collis L. Mayfield

Charles E. McCarty

Harry W. McCawley

Richard D. McClintic

Roger D. McClintock

Allen Duane McIntire

Bruno C. Milakovic

Edward J. Miller

Lee O. Miracle

Jack L. Moore

Donald E. Murray

Byrd B. Napier

Paul Robert “Bo” Newsom

Richard T. Newton

William Stith Noe

John R. Owen Sr.

Robert J. Owings

Eldra “Bub” Pack

Charles H. Pate

John Allen Pence

Lester E. Perkinson

James “Mike” Perry

James R. Phegley

George E. Pifer II

Vernon L. Pike

William A. Ponder

Conrad A. Powell

William A. Pumphrey Sr.

Richard Lee Purvis

Brian E. Ray

Chad Andrew Richey

Charles “Fritz” Roemmel

Jack Joseph Rosemeyer

Donald L. Scheidt

Jerry Keith Schnur

Dr. Lorain “Larry” Schultes

Kenneth D. Schultz

Paul T. Shane

Murnal “Butch” Shepherd

Michael P. Simmons

Leroy Smith

James M. Snider

John Peter Sohn

Earl Louis Sparks

William W. Spaugh

Robert E. Stark

Peter Ster

M. Dale Strahl

Leland R. Strellner

Billie Wayne Stringer

Thomas W. Sullivan

Larry I. Taylor

Howard “Cactus” Tevis

Wayne O. Truex

Roger Lewis Turner

James L. VanBlaricum

C. Geoffrey Vincent

Joseph K. Voelz

Walter Curt Voyles Jr.

Benjamin Thomas Wade III

George A. Wall

Virgil “Ike” Wasson

Donald E. Weddle Sr.

George R. Wells

Robert Walter Wendel

Loren White

Robert J. Williams

Aaron Von Williamson

Stephen T. Worland

By the numbers

300: Estimated size of Veterans Day Crowd

174: Names read of military veterans with Bartholomew County ties who died over the past 12 months

33: Degrees in temperature as 11 a.m. Saturday ceremony began.

Author photo
Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.