Military Appreciation Night held at Glen Este High School

September 10th, 2012    Author: Kristin Bednarski    Filed Under: News

West Clermont Local School District superintendent and board members present Tom Thomas, United States Marine Corps veteran, with an honorary diploma during Military Appreciation Night Aug. 31. From left are Tammy Brinkman, Superintendent Dr. Gary Brooks, Denise Smith and Tom Thomas.

Glen Este High School hosted Military Appreciation Night before its first home football game Aug. 31.

The ceremony was held to honor veterans in the area, and one local veteran also received an honorary diploma from Glen Este High School.

West Clermont Local School District Superintendent Dr. Gary Brooks presented Tom Thomas, a World War II and Korean War veteran, his honorary diploma after more than 75 years.

Thomas said he was a junior in high school when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

He said his father fought in World War I, and even though his mother didn’t want him to fight, she signed for him when he was 17 years old.

“So, I didn’t get to finish high school,” Thomas said.

After returning from serving during both World War II and the Korean War, Thomas said he and his wife, Jean, finished the classes they needed to earn their GEDs.

Because of West Clermont Local School District, Thomas was also able to receive an honorary diploma.

Brooks said it was an honor for him and members of the board of education to be able to present Thomas with the diploma.

“We welcome you as a graduate of West Clermont schools,” Brooks said as he presented the diploma.

State Rep. Danny Bubp and Clermont County Commissioner Bob Proud also spoke during the ceremony, thanking veterans for their service and recognizing Thomas.

“Isn’t it an appropriate thing to honor Tom Thomas tonight in front of these young people getting ready to participate in the American dream,” Bubp said.

Bubp and Proud recognized the many veterans who joined the military when they were young including John Nield, Joe Witt and Alvie Taylor, all World War II veterans who attended the ceremony.

They also recognized all members of the community at the game who have served in the military.

Joe Whitt, a Pearl Harbor survivor, said he fought in 17 major battles during the war and is one of few Pearl Harbor survivors still alive.

Whitt said many people enlisted in the military when they were 17, and many were actually even younger than that.

He said he is very fortunate to be alive and to be able to be at the ceremony with other World War II survivors and veterans.

“So far it’s been great,” Alvie Taylor said about the ceremony. “I really appreciate what they’re doing.”

John Nield, who also joined the military when he was 17 years old and was sent to Iwo Jima, said it is nice to be recognized.

“I like being out for the guys who didn’t make it,” Nield said about coming to the ceremony.

During the ceremony, the Marine Corps League Color Guard, Leatherneck Detachment presented the colors, Glen Este High School Marching Band performed the Star Spangled Banner, a B-25 bomber airplane flew over the football field, there was a 21-gun salute and Taps was played to honor the fallen.

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