Two men with local ties to the Elgin area were among more than 500 who flew to Washington, D.C., last week as part of the Vietnam Honor Flight.
Marvin Meis of Elgin and Jerry Stamp of Clearwater boarded a flight to our nation’s capital early Monday morning, June 6. Once there, they visited the Vietnam War Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery and other monuments in the city before returning home to a hero’s welcome at Eppley Airport later that night. Meis served in the Army and Stamp was a member of the Marines.
When the honor flight landed in D.C., there were two lines of people 1.5 blocks long to greet them. One of the first people Meis met in D.C. was Tara Dinslage, a 2007 graduate of PJCC who happens to be the daughter of Brian and Kathy Dinslage. She works at CHI Health Bergan Mercy Medical Center as a medical laboratory scientist. She was there to assist veterans making the trip in wheel chairs. Later, Meis recognized former Elgin resident Bruce Dinslage as one of the veterans on the trip.
Honor flight participants then received a police escort to the Lincoln Memorial.
Meis, making his first trip to our nation’s capital, said Monday night his favorite part of the trip was to visit the Vietnam Wall. The Wall has the name of every man who died in Vietnam inscribed. Meis said he took rubbings of two of names of men he knew who never came home.
On the trip, he joined many whom he served with in the war. One other person he met in D.C. was Vietnam veteran and former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. He described Hagel, a native Nebraskan, as “very gracious” when Meis shook his hand and introduced himself.
Another part of the trip was a visit to Arlington National Cemetery where they saw the changing of the guard at The Tomb of The Unknown Soldier. “I was impressed with the discipline of the guards at the cemetery,” he said. He said the precision was incredible, noting that it takes the soldier six hours just to get ready (shoes, clothing, etc.). Honor flight attendees were allowed into Arlington in buses, something that is strictly prohibited except for rare instances such as the honor flight. Everyone else enters the national cemetery on foot.
Other monuments the delegation visited included the Lincoln Memorial, the World War II Memorial and Air Force Memorial before boarding planes to return to Omaha.
Meis, part of the white delegation, said the “welcome home” the soldiers received was “unbelievable.”
“It was unbelievable the number of people who were on hand to greet the returning veterans.
“It was a big difference from what it was 50 years ago (the welcome home),” he said.
Meis was accompanied to Omaha by his wife Jodine Meis. Their children include Eric and Ben Meis, both of Elgin; Bart Meis of Winside; and Monica McMahon of Omaha.
Trip “Emotional” For Stamp
Stamp’s tie to the community is that he is the father of Chris Stamp of Elgin.
For Stamp, 70, the trip was both very enjoyable and very emotional, according to his son Chris Stamp. “It was always something he wanted to do, to see the Vietnam Wall,” the younger Stamp said about his father. “Being around others (who served in Vietnam), he liked that.”
Stamp was part of the delegation of Vietnam veterans wearing red shirts, others wore white or blue shirts as part of the honor flight.
Like Meis, Stamp was moved by the emotional “welcome home” when they flew back into Omaha.
For many of the soldiers the “welcome” was far different from when they first came home from the war. Jerry spent approximately 13 months on active duty in Vietnam during the mid-1960s.
“He told me it was better late than never,” Chris Stamp said about the hero’s welcome they received late Monday night.
Stamp was accompanied to Omaha by his wife Sharon. They have three children: Chris of Elgin, Brett of St. Paul, NE; and Geri Jo Dyrdal of Omaha.
Meeting last week, the District #18 Board of Education moved forward on one project and put off “til next year” another project.
The school board, on a five to zero vote (board member Steve Busteed was absent) voted to go forward with construction of a parking lot to be located on the east side of the school gymnasium. As reported last month, the parking lot will be approximately 60’ by 200’ and will have stairs. Entry to the gymnasium will remain on the west side of the structure.
Earlier this month, the Elgin City Council approved a building permit for the parking lot.
Work is expected to begin on the parking lot in the coming weeks.
Then there’s the project which won’t get done this year. As previously reported, the school district had planned to remove sod from the football field and do dirt work which would lessen the crown and fill in low spots. The plan was to remove the sod one day and have the dirt work done, then re-install the sod the following day. Originally scheduled for April, the weather did not cooperate and it became too late in the season, according to Superintendent Dan Polk.
“I think Elgin’s my place to actually get bulls rode,”
Claiming he was in a slump, Norfolk bull rider Garrett Wickett won his third consecutive EKG Bull-A-Rama Saturday night.
Wickett, a second generation bull rider coached by Dustin Elliott out of North Platte, put together two great rides to claim the championship.
In the first go round, he posted a 76. Then, starting the second go-round, he posted a 79 for a combined score of 155.
Taking second was Cody Bohnenkamp of Broken Bow. He had a 65 in the first go-round then came back with a 77 in the second go-round.
The best ride of the night was turned in by Rick Clouse of Emmett who posted an 80 in the first go-round and ended up finishing third.
The bleachers were nearly full to capacity when the competition began
“He jumped out and made a couple of rounds to the right then jumped out of it,” Wickett said about his ride in the first go-round. “He was a tough bull to ride, I had to really work and claw my way to stay caught up to him.”
It didn’t get any easier in the second go-round.
“I knew going in I was sitting in second place,” he said about the start of the second go-round. Wickett said when the bull came out of the chute, it went to his left away from his hand. “I really had to keep clawing,” he said. “I wasn’t really spurring, I was just trying to stay caught up to him.”
“For me, it’s just a natural reaction,” Wickett said describing what it’s like to ride a bull. “It’s a split-second sport. You can’t think, when you think you get hurt,” he said. “I really don’t see anything. My vision gets very blurry … I know where the position is. If I do get in a bad spot, that’s where I snap out of it. It’s almost like a dream.”
He went on to say that the times when he “snaps out of the dream” is when he has gotten hurt riding bulls.
Riding is all second nature. It’s all consecutive motions. If you imagine it day out, eat and sleep bull riding, that’s when you become good,” he said.
June 2, 2016 by lmorgan · Comments Off
Families and friends came to cemeteries near and far to honor and to remember fallen heroes and lost loved ones as part of Memorial Day Weekend 2016.
For some, tears fell and soft words were spoken near tombstones which stand as silent tributes to lives once lived.
Elgin area residents participated in Memorial Day programs. There was a large turnout at Park Cemetery for the program which began at 10 a.m.
Giving the Memorial Day address was Rev. Janet Davis. She gave those in attendance a brief history of how, back in 1971, the fourth Monday of May became the official federal holiday known as Memorial Day. “But,” she said, “the U.S. has been remembering those who lost their lives in defense of our country for many over 100 years before that.”
History tells us the decoration of graves began, in earnest, following the Civil War, but it was after World War I when all who died in military service to our country were honored.
“For many decades,” she said, “in most parts of the country, May 30, no matter the day of the week, was the designated day. Not a 3-day weekend to begin the summer, but a day to pause from the usual work and hold ceremonies to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
“This year around the country there are parades, carnivals, alumni gatherings, dinners, barbecues, car races and so many other get-togethers all held during the last weekend of May. We have gathered here as part of our holiday weekend to honor those from this community who lost their lives during battle …So many have lost their lives in war, and we remember them today. If their death can awake in us an understanding of our need to break down barriers of hate and the call to all of humankind to discover in each other their common, God-given humanity, then we are remembering them as they should be remembered. And remembering what they gave for us that we might build a better world.”
A larger crowd gathered at West Cedar Valley/St. Boniface cemetery for the 11 a.m. memorial service. Following music performed by the Elgin High School band, Father Ross Burkhalter shared words fitting the occasion.
“We human beings are religious beings,” he said, “we need ritual especially when the people we honor warrant special attention. We are also given memory by God not just to remember their past deeds, but make their memory come alive by emulating their example. God put people like we have here in this cemetery in our lives not by accident.”
For the complete story, see the print edition of The Elgin Review
June 2, 2016 by lmorgan · Comments Off
According to a history book on Raeville, the first Catholic settlers came in 1875. Seven years later, the first Catholic church was constructed and the first held there happened in February of 1882.
Since that time, countless events connected to the church have been held there. Come Saturday night, June 4, the “Last Dance” will be held at the parish hall. Since “The Great Depression” of the 1930s, the parish hall has been a gathering place. And it will be again one more time. The event will mark the end of use of the old hall as construction continues on a new parish hall to be used for future events.
Once again the hall will be full of people, spanning several generations, listening and dancing to the songs they fell in love to, danced to when they were married.
Festivities will begin with Mass at St. Bonaventure Catholic Church at 5:30 p.m. A barbecue meal will be served in the parish hall, starting at 7 p.m.
Starting at 7:30 p.m., music will begin to be played. Older music from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Then, starting at 9 p.m., more modern tunes will be played.
The event will serve as a fundraiser for the new parish hall. With a goal of raising $350,000 for the new building, so far more than $280,000 has been generated by donations and other events.