Douglas senior center observes Veteran’s Day |

Douglas senior center observes Veteran’s Day

by Scott Neuffer

Four Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8583 held flags for the Pledge of Allegiance in the middle of the Douglas County Senior Center Friday morning as part of a Veteran’s Day Celebration.

“It was an honor to serve. We felt we were doing our duty,” said John Zemlock, an Army Airborne service officer in Vietnam. “My father served, my grandfather served, and I felt it was my obligation.”

Other members of the color guard included Jack Nester, who served as a Navy commander in the Korean War, Sam Courie, who served as an Army service officer in World War II, and Eliot Callender, who served as an Army chaplain in the Korean War.

“We support our troops, and we hope they come home soon,” said Courie.

The Douglas High School Jazz Band and Madrigals performed at the event, playing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful.”

“We’re definitely grateful for our veterans. Without them, we wouldn’t have our country,” said junior and Madrigal singer Sam Walker.

Sheriff Ron Pierini and Sgt. Jim Halsey also attended the celebration.

“It’s important to take the time needed to thank the men and women who have served our country,” Pierini said. “Whether it’s here or in a grocery store, we can never thank them enough. We appreciate what they have done more than they can know.”

Sgt. Halsey, who also served in Iraq with the Naval Reserve Seabees, gave a speech on the current war.

“Freedom is not free,” he said. “I would hate to see the lives lost over there lost for nothing. It would be end of our nation if we didn’t fight that kind of tyranny. We need to fully support the personnel fighting this war.”

County commissioner Dave Brady also attended the event.

“This is an opportunity to reflect on the contributions made to this country,” he said.

Brady urged those that had served to share their stories with the greater public and let people know of the sacrifices they’d made.

The celebration was not only for military veterans but other kinds of veterans, too.

Linda Kyriakopoulos was awarded a commemorative plaque and given a cake for her 10 years of service as the senior center’s recreation coordinator. She will be moving to Texas.

“We’re not going to forget you,” said Pierini of Kyriakopoulos.

Fighting back tears, she said, “I’m going away with a lot of fond memories. You guys have been great.”