LINCOLN — The life of an Elgin man who surrendered his life in the protection of freedom was recognized Tuesday by the Lincoln 14 Rotary Club.
Captain Larry D. Getzfred, who died in the attack on the Pentagon on 9/11 was added to the club’s roster as a Paul Harris Fellow (PHF).
NIFA Executive Director Tim Kenny read the citation and spoke on behalf of the Getzfred family. Here’s the text of his remarks:
“The concept of “Service” … is embedded in the name of the vocation … “Military Service,” the members of the profession we honor on Veteran’s Day. The ideal of “Service Above Self” is personified in the career of our special honoree, Captain Lawrence D. Getzfred, United States Navy … remembrances of his military and Nebraska families demonstrate his lifelong commitment to “Putting the interests of others ahead of his own.
“Getzfred was born in Elgin Nebraska to Ralph and Irene Getzfred. he graduated from Elgin’s St. Bpniface High School in 1962 and he followed his older brother, Robert, into the Navy. Larry later attended DeAnza College and Santa Clara University where he earned a degree in mathematics. Today we are honored to have with us his brother, Darrell Getzfred, representing the Getzfred family, who share among their five older brothers over 100 years of combined military service.
“Larry’s military record of commands, awards and decorations is impressive. But highest among them are the comments of his peers who observed that his rare, combined military service both as an enlisted man and an officer enabled him to be that kind of leader who was both respected for his rank and beloved for his commitment to his sailors. Larry was described as ‘a Navy man top to bottom who had tremendous insight and perspective for dealing with people.’
“His family celebrates him as the ‘son who would come home on leave and talk (with his family) about the places he had seen and the things he had done; he was his mother’s chief counselor (after the death of his father).
“And Larry, the kid from Nebraska, planned to come home when he achieved 40 years of service.
“For that day, he kept his orange Corvette in the barn, and the ignition key on his key ring.”
A long and distinguished military career, Captain Getzfred was at his duty station in the Navy Command Center on 9/11 when the hijacked airline struck the building, taking his life 15 years ago.
“Larry was a wonderful husband, father, brother, son and naval officer. Throughout his career he served in a number of positions that placed him in the role of teacher, a job that he had once considered as a civilian career. He was a great teacher and leader,” Kenny said.
Getzfred’s brother Mark, an editor at The New York Times, wrote that as a Naval officer, Larry tried to put the interests of the men and women in his command ahead of himself and his needs.
“These words perfectly describe the “Service Above Self” that we honor today as we name Captain Larry D. Getzfred, United States Navy, to our permanent roster of Rotary Club 14 Paul Harris Fellows,” Kenny said.
Approximately 135 persons attended the Veterans Day program/noon luncheon where the presentation was held.
Giving the program on this day was Richard Burch, Command Sgt. Major (ret.) for the Army National Guard.