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Honoring our local veterans

Class of ‘67 honors more than 30 classmates

Military veteran members of the Johnstown High School Class of 1967 pose after a ceremony Friday at Knox Field. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — The Johnstown School Class of 1967 honored its more than 30 military veteran classmates during a special ceremony Friday at Knox Field.

Class members got together for some 50th reunion laughs and fun, taking in the Johnstown School Museum Friday afternoon and the Johnstown Block Party Friday night.

But in a somber mid-day ceremony at Knox Field organized by JHS Class of 1967 President Sarah Slingerland, a former city mayor, veterans from the class were also honored.

A flag to be hung at the field in their honor was unveiled and hung, a wreath was displayed to honor military members who died in duty, veterans were individually honored, and the ceremony featured Fort Plain’s Mohawk Valley VFW Post 3275.

“I’m truly honored to be asked to do this today,” Mayor Vern Jackson told JHS Class of 1967 members.

Johnstown High School Class of 1967 members Dan Ehle and Sarah Slingerland on Friday unveil a flag donated by the class to honor their veterans to be flown at Knox Field. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

Jackson, himself a Navy veteran, quipped that he was a Utica high school Class of 1968 member. He also noted some Vietnam War protestors didn’t treat veterans well back in the late 1960s.

“You got frowned on, spit on and you got cursed,” Jackson said. “Thank God, that has all changed.”

The mayor went on to state in prepared remarks: “We are gathered this morning to pay tribute and respect to the members of the Johnstown High School Class of 1967 who served in the armed forces of the United States.”

“As we commemorate their service, we also acknowledge the support and sacrifice of their families who were instrumental in making the veterans’ effort possible. We must also extend recognition and gratitude to those spouses, siblings and children of the families who supported their members of the military during their time of service,” Jackson said.

Names announced of JHS Class of 1967 members who were also veterans were: David Allen – Army; Gary K. Blakeslee – Marine Corps; John Blanchford – Navy; Christopher L. Boggie – Army; Judith Ann Briggs – Air Force; Barry W. Chadwell – Coast Guard; Alan Cole – Marine Corps; Francis A. Duchala – Army; Edward Duesler – Navy; Stephen Duesler – Army; Roger J. Eaton – Navy; Edward Douglas Hart – Marine Corps; Joseph F. Herrnkind – Army; Michael R. Hojohn – Navy; James T. Hopkins – Navy; Robert Hurlburt – Navy; Gary Kiffney – Marine Corps; Terry J. Lake – Marine Corps; Richard J. Miller – Navy; Raymond K. Ortell – Air Force; Reginald B. Ropeter – Navy; Mark R. Rulison – Army; Charles Squires – Navy; Daniel Stevens – Army; James A. Stuart – Air Force; Lloyd Sweet – Army; Anthony R. Valachovic – Air Force; Peter Valachovic – National Guard; Daniel J. Vedder – Army; Daniel Warner – Army: and Donald A. Wilson – Navy.

Johnstown Mayor Vern Jackson honors military veteran members of the Johnstown High School Class of 1967 during a ceremony Friday at Knox Field. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

Jackson told the gathering that if there were other veterans, to offer them then, but no responses were given.

The wreath was placed in honor of two Class of 1967 members who gave their lives during military service. They were: Robert Coons – Army; and John Hall – Navy.

Slingerland and fellow class member Dan Ehle raised the American flag dedicated by the class to “honor all their classmates for their military duty” to fly at Knox Field.

Members of the Mohawk Valley VFW Post 3275 Color Guard/Firing Squad fired off three volleys in honor of the local veterans.

Post Squad Commander David Hotaling played “Taps.”

Mohawk Valley VFW Post Squad Commander David Hotaling plays "Taps" at a ceremony conducted by the Johnstown High School Class of 1967 to honor its veterans Friday at Knox Field. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JHS Class of 1967 veterans who attended Friday’s ceremony gathered for group photos at Knox Field following the ceremony.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

Members of the Mohawk Valley VFW Post Color Guard fire a volley in honor of Johnstown High School Class of 1967 veterans during a ceremony Friday at Knox Field in Johnstown. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

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