11/14/2017 4:25:00 PM WHS Veterans Day honors Hometown Hero
The 2017 Hometown Hero, WWII veteran Richard Smeltzer, is pictured being presented his award by National Honor Society member Jayce Phillips. (Telegram Photos
By Phillip Buffington)
The Veterans Day assembly at WHS including the announcement of the 2017 Americanism Test winners. Shown front row from the left are Shai Brandau (junior), Kylee Hendershott (sophomore), Grant Plummer (sophomore), Ashley Cook (senior), Dray Remy (junior) and Michael Graham (senior). Pictured behind the students are Three-year Trustee Legionnaire Robin Johnson and American Legion Post 371 Ladies Auxiliary member Helena Lawson.
Students, staff, local veterans and community members alike gathered together inside the Wellston High School (WHS) gymnasium Friday morning, Nov. 10 to pay homage to all of this nation's men and women of the armed forces, both past and present.
The highlight of the Veterans Day activities was the presentation of this year's Hometown Hero honors, which went to World War II veteran Richard Smeltzer. Born Jan. 31, 1927 in New Lexington, Ohio, Smeltzer was drafted by the U.S. Army in his third year of high school to serve with the Army of Engineers in the European Theater of Operations during WWII.
During the ceremony, Smeltzer was accompanied by family members and friends including son-in-law Ron Collins and granddaughter Charity Potter. At the age of 90, Smeltzer is still able to attend some of the school activities of his great-grandchildren, Grace, a sophomore at WHS, and Sullivan Potter, an eighth-grader at Wellston Middle School. He is also a life member of American Legion Post 188, a member of the 40 and 8 Perry County #68, and a life member of the VFW Post 2806.
Smeltzer was presented the Hometown Hero honors by the National Honor Society and WHS.
Friday's ceremony also included the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance, the singing of the National Anthem, the reciting of numerous poems including one written by the late longtime Wellston Police Department dispatcher Bob Petersen, the introduction of all veterans present for the ceremony, comments from American Legion Post 371 Commander Wayne Vickers and Adjutant Jim Collins, as well as performances by the WHS band and choir.
The 2017 winners of the annual Americanism Test at WHS were also announced by test director and American Legion Post 371 Ladies Auxiliary member Helena Lawson. She explained that the test was administered on Friday, Nov. 3 to all 10th, 11th and 12th-graders, and that the top scores for one male and one female student in each grade were chosen. This year, sophomores Kylee Hendershott and Grant Plummer, juniors Shai Brandau and Dray Remy, and seniors Ashley Cook and Michael Graham were named as the winners. These students will now also be competing at the district level.
To conclude the ceremony, a 21-gun salute was performed just outside of the WHS gymnasium, as was the playing of Taps.