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Armed Forces Day Celebration held at Huntington North

Colonel Dale Beebe guest speaker

Hat Tip Chief Warrant Officer 2 (Retired) Bobby Blair

May 20th, 2023, organizations from Huntington County hosted an Armed Forces Day celebration at Huntington North High School. The program began at 6 pm in the auditorium with HNHS principal, Mr. Patrick McLaughin welcoming guests and asking all to rise and stay standing for the posting of the National Colors and the playing of the National Anthem. The HNHS Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp (JROTC) Color Guard Captain, Gabriel Crago led the squad in this task. The National Anthem was played by the HNHS Band, led by Mr. Michael Petek, and the Joyful Songsters, led by Stephanie Shultz. Mrs. Sandy Funk and Stephanie Shultz sang as the audience paid their respects.

Following the National Anthem, Mr. McLaughin continued with the presentation by thanking the guests for their attendance and directed the audience to follow along with the brochure as the HNHS Band and Joyful Songsters played and sang the following selection; Fanfare for the Common Man, Your Looking America, You’re a Grand Old Flag/America the Beautiful, Battle Hymn of the Republic, Semper Fidelis, and a sing-along medley: America the Beautiful and This Land is Your Land. The last song of the evening was the United States Armed Forces Salute. As each service song played, the members of the audience were asked to stand for their respective branches.

After the salute to the branches, Mr. McLaughlin introduced the guest speaker, Colonel Dale Beebe, and read his biography. Colonel Beebe is a member of the United States Armed Forces Command stationed in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Originally from Indiana, Colonel Beebe is a graduate of Michigan State University. He was commissioned as Captain in the US Army Veterinary Corps in 2002 upon graduation from the Atlantic Veterinary College. COL Beebe spoke to the audience, thanking them for their service, and then addressed three HNHS students who recently joined the Army; HNHS JROTC cadet Command Sergeant Major Kaleb Dollarhite, cadet Staff Sergeant Nicholas Clark, and Joshua Justice. He offered them bits of wisdom that have served him over his twenty-year career.

Following the Colonel, Mr. McLaughlin introduced Roanoke’s Lion’s Club member, Mr. Charlie Crawford, and the HNHS JROTC Senior Army Instructor, Chief Warrant Officer 2 (Retired) Bobby Blair. Mr. Crawford thanked everyone for supporting the Armed Forces Day and the enlistees for their attendance. CW2 (Ret.) Blair followed

Mr. Crawford with a short speech and guidance for the enlistees, that he too had learned over his 24 years in the Army. Following the speeches, CW2 (Ret.) Blair called cCSM Dollarhite, cSSG Clark, and Mr. Justice to the stage. The high school seniors were given packets containing thank you cards (from Flint Springs Elementary School), signature sheets (of local supporters and organizations), and monetary checks from Roanoke and Huntington’s Lion’s Club, the American Legion, Posts 7, 85, and 160, the Veterans of Foreign War, Post 2689, and other contributors.

Two of the seniors were then released back to their seats and cCSM Kaleb Dollarhite was asked to stay on the stage. Two representatives from the Daughters of the American Revolution, Mrs. Stacey Law, and Mrs. Joan Gardner, presented Kaleb with a national award from their organization.

Lastly, the closing remarks were made by Dr. Stan Bippus, who orchestrated this event. Dr. Bippus, who served in the Marines, wanted to ensure that the enlistees were sent off with love and support from the community. His dedication to this event, to the enlistees, and to the community is beyond what words can describe. Without him, this program would not have been possible. We all are very thankful. This is the first year that this program has been established and we hope that this is the start of a lifelong tradition here in Huntington, Indiana.

Thank you Bobby Blair for this great write up. these and other photos may be downloaded free of charge at thanks to BIG CITY CARS.

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