National POW/MIA Appreciation Day always takes place on the third Friday in September, although as mentioned at Wednesday’s meeting, a local celebration will take place on Sunday, September 18.
The commission’s proclamation recognized Sept. 16-18 as POW/MIA Appreciation Day weekend in Highland County and urges “all residents and businesses to display American flags and ribbons of support in black and white and hereby pledge to our patriots in uniform to do all we can to bring home those who are missing or detained.
Family members of several Highland County soldiers who were prisoners of war or MIA accepted the proclamation, as presented by Steph Roland of the Highland County Veterans Services Commission and Support Our County Troops of Highland. Many of the soldiers’ family members brought photos to share and told stories about their loved ones.
Those in attendance on Wednesday included:
• Leeanna McKamey and Rosalind Engle, on behalf of Engle’s brother-in-law, Charles Engle, a World War II POW.
Engle said his brother-in-law was “shot down over Yugoslavia” and later “carried to northern Germany in a covered wagon with nothing in it.” She said he was in a prison camp with about 30,000 people.
“It was so full they could barely sit in the boxcar,” she said. “They stopped in Berlin while the Americans were bombing Berlin, and they were shaking the car. They were afraid that the Americans would kill them.
“They went all the way to northern Germany – but that’s now Poland, I guess – and the Russians were coming up behind them. They must have walked about 600 miles.
• Lee Harris, whose grandfather Walter Harris was a World War II POW.
“My grandfather was captured in Germany and he spent 18 months in a prison camp,” said Lee Harris. “He survived one of the death marches.”
• Daryl Kelch and Cheryl Lyle (with husband Jim), on behalf of their father, Louis Earl Kelch, a POW.
“Our father was shot in Germany,” Cheryl Lyle said. “He spent 13 months in a POW camp there.”
• Montey Scott, on behalf of his brother Neil Scott, a POW/MIA from the Korean War whose remains were never found.
“My brother Neil was in Korea,” Montey Scott said. “He was in the tiger death march in Korea. He lost his life in January 1951.
• Vicki (and her husband Mike) Couch and Paul Siders, on behalf of their uncle Stanley Pershing Siders, a WWII soldier who remains MIA.
Several of those present added that loved ones were hesitant to talk about their experiences, with Harris saying his family needed to research his grandfather’s service. Lyle told the commissioners they discovered details later in his father’s life, including “stories of a feverish rage” when he was seriously ill with meningitis.
“They wouldn’t talk about it,” Ms Lyle said.
Engle added that her brother-in-law only spoke about her ordeal “twice” that she remembered, as McKamey said he refused to talk about the ordeals he went through “until the last year. of his life, then he talked about it a bit.
The Commissioners thanked everyone present for coming to the meeting and for the sacrifices made by their families.
“We owe these people and their families a lot,” Duncan said. “We appreciate what they have done for us. We must continue to recognize and celebrate it. »
Roland encouraged everyone, “Never forget.”
As noted, Roland also discussed a ceremony and car show planned to commemorate POW/MIA Appreciation Day, scheduled for Sunday, September 18 at noon at Lake View Loft, 10215 Jones Road, Hillsboro.
Roland said the owners of Lake View Loft worked with her to think about a day dedicated to a benefit for veterans. This event “blossomed” on the occasion of a Wheels For Warriors charity fair, all proceeds of which will be donated to SAW. [Save A Warrior].
There will also be a special ceremony at noon before the start of the auto show that day to recognize former prisoners of war and the missing in Highland County, according to a news release about the event.
“We decided to do a ceremony, and this is our public recognition event.” says Roland. “There will be a beautiful ceremony, and it won’t be very long, but we are here to recognize the family members of those who have sacrificed so much – sacrificed everything for our country.
“It’s open to the public and it will be a nice little motor show that will accompany it. So, by all means, everyone is welcome.
The commissioners encouraged the public to attend the September 18 performance.
• • •
Also at Wednesday’s meeting:
• Commissioners passed a resolution designating the Commissioners “as beneficiaries of the partnership between Highland County and the Town of Hillsboro [and] appoints Highland County Community Action Organization to submit a request for XRF analyzer funding on behalf of the CHIP program and administrator.
HCCAO housing director Mark Current explained on Wednesday that an XRF analyzer is “an x-ray fluorescent device” used for lead-based paint inspections.
“When we do an inspection for a CHIP job, if we’re going to mess with any type of paint, we have to do a risk assessment to see if that paint is lead-based or not,” Current said. “Right now we have to take a sample of paint chips, which takes us a bit of time.
“The XRF is an X-ray fluorescent device that you hold against the surface of the paint, pull the trigger, and within seconds it will tell you whether or not it’s lead-based paint.”
Current said the machines are “expensive”, which is “the reason we don’t already have them”. The model they want is $23,000.
“The Ministry of Development and the Ministry of Health are working together to provide funding for these, and they will provide funding of $23,150,” Current said. “The $150 is because the seller who gave them a price of $23,000 put $150 shipping on it, so they increased it to cover the full cost. We’d like to buy one.
Current added that the analyzer “would be county property,” with the HCCAO drafting “a memorandum of understanding” on its use (for CHIP projects) and storage (by the HCCAO, on behalf of the county).
He also noted that the XRF would last “about 10 years before you need to replace the tube, and that’s about $3,000.”
“It allows us to do more thorough testing for lead-based paint before we start working on the house, and the results are faster,” Current said.
After hearing Current’s explanation, commissioners voted 3-0 to approve the resolution.
• Commissioners also discussed and agreed to approve the renewal of a planned maintenance contract with Weller’s Plumbing and Heating for all buildings in the county.
According to Britton, the annual agreement covers “all of our HVAC maintenance across all county facilities.” Duncan added that the contract includes “monthly” maintenance, such as “changing filters and doing checks” on the units.
Britton said the proposed contract is a renewal of their current deal.
“The contract costs have gone up quite a bit, due to the inflation issues we have across the country,” Britton said. “Last year it was $28,661. This year it will be $39,024.
The commissioners voted 3-0 to renew their contract with Weller’s.
Also approved are:
• A resolution to authorize the execution of a local jail capital project grant agreement with respect to the Highland County Jail Facility.
• A sub-grant agreement between the commissioners and the Highland County Senior Citizens Center for ARPA funding for the center’s Meals on Wheels program.
• A Contract for the Local Jail Capital Project Grant Agreement for the Highland County Jail Project between the Commissioners, the State of Ohio, and the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections of the Ohio.
• A service contract between Fortress Technologies and the Highland County Sheriff commencing September 21, 2022 and continuing until termination of the contract.
• A contract between the commissioners, the Highland County Board of DD and the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities: Standard Affirmation and Disclosure Form, Governance the Expenditure of Public Funds on Offshore Services & Response.
• Mortgage satisfaction for a couple through an HCCAO project.
• A motion authorizing the President to execute a quote from Stanley Convergent Security Solutions, Inc. for upgrades to the IP Intercom and Syntinel Control System at the Highland County Justice Center.
• An endorsement of the Highland County Local Emergency Planning Committee Promulgation for the Hazmat Plan submitted by Highland County EMA Director David Bushelman.
There was no further discussion on Wednesday, as the commissioners had two executive sessions — including one with state auditors and one with Frost Brown Todd’s attorney, Thaddeus Boggs — after their regular meeting. No action was taken after either session, according to committee clerk Ashleigh Willey.