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Washington County veterans honored

New class inducted into Hall of Fame

Sergeant John Binegar, right, accepts the award of induction into the 2019 Washington County Veterans Hall of Fame from Washington County Veterans Service Commissioner Larry Proctor. (Photo by Janelle Patterson)

MARIETTA – Filling the Dyson Baudo Recreation Center at Marietta College with family, friends and neighbors, the Washington County Veterans Service Commission recognized 15 veterans, four civilians and one employer Friday for answering multiple calls to serve.

They serve their country.

They serve school-age children.

They serve fellow veterans.

“We’re here tonight to honor our heroes,” said Washington County Commissioner David White as the second annual 2019 Washington County Veterans Hall of Fame ceremony began.

Mary Jo Sexton receives the posthumous award of induction into the 2019 Washington County Veterans Hall of Fame on behalf of her late father, Donald Stewart, from Washington County Veterans Service Commissioners Regis Kern, left, and Larry Proctor. (Photo by Janelle Patterson)

Mary Jo Sexton, 68, of Marietta, was shaking and beaming with a smile ear-to-ear as she accepted the posthumous award for her father, a prisoner of war during World War II.

“I’m just so thrilled, my dad was my hero,” she explained of Donald P. Stewart, who served as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army from 1942 to 1946. “To see dad recognized for what the military made him, see the person he was, I’m so proud.”

Those recognized Friday were recognized for continuing to serve, explained Washington County Veterans Service Commissioner Jared Smith.

“Emily (Maze) and Bonnie (Franchuk), Mark Mondo and Hi-Vac, they go above and beyond. They may have never worn the uniform, but they serve our veterans with all they have,” explained Smith of the civilians who were also honored Friday.

Maze and Franchuk were recognized with the Washington County Distinguished Service Award, Hi-Vac as the employer of the year, and Mondo for the Washington County Veterans Community Service Award.

“Emily works in supportive services for veterans families, yes–that’s her job, but in her line of work, you typically see veterans rehoused in 30-45 days,” explained Smith. “She gets them into housing within 24 to 48 hours. She’s exceptional though in even more than her job. She continues to serve the veteran community with every function any need, she’s there.”

Smith had the same praise for Franchuk, who by day works for the U.S. Postal Service. Still, outside of work, she’s engrained herself in support of the local veteran community.

“She’s always there for us and has kicked off a website specifically to connect veterans in need of any service–mowing the grass, needing help with their car–she doesn’t have to do it, she does it out of love,” Smith continued.

Smith served as the master of ceremonies for the evening, asking each veteran and civilian honored to join Commission President Regis Kern and Commissioner Larry Proctor at the front of the more than 100 individuals gathered in their honor.

“I feel humbled, privileged, but I don’t tell war stories. The medals are enough,” said John Binegar, 71, of Lowell, after being inducted into the 2019 Washington County Veterans Hall of Fame. “It sounds off, but I am so homesick for Vietnam. There’s a part of me that never came back.”

The 2020 Washington County Veterans Hall of Fame is now open for nominations submitted to the Washington County Veterans Service Commission.

The 2020 induction ceremony is currently scheduled for Nov. 1.

Janelle Patterson can be reached at jpatterson@mariettatimes.com.

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2019 Washington County Veterans Hall of Fame Inductees:

* Donald P. Stewart, staff sergeant in the U.S. Army, 1942-46.*

* Theodore C. Bauer, first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Corps, 1944-45.

* Gerald M. Dye, sergeant in the U.S. Army Air Corps, 1944-45.

* Gordon F. Pape, private first class in the U.S. Army, 1944-45.*

* Louis “Sam” Gwinn, gunner’s mate in the U.S. Navy, 1954-58.

* Robert Jenkins, staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, 1956-76.

* Irene Cain, private first class in the U.S. Marine Corps, 1963-64.

* Larry M. Haynes, staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, 1965-69.

* John Hughes, private first class in the U.S. Army, 1966-68.

* John T. Binegar, sergeant in the U.S. Army, 1968-69.

* Robert A. Hill, sergeant in the U.S. Army, 1969-70.*

* Greg Mitchell, master sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, 1970-90.

* John Triplett, captain in the U.S. Army, 1985-88.

* Mark Kerenyi, corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps, 1986-91.

*Posthumous award.

* Washington County Veteran of the Year: Reggie Pickering.

* Washington County Distinguished Service Awards: Emily Maze, Bonnie Franchuk.

* Washington County Veterans Employer of the Year: Hi-Vac.

* Washington County Community Service Award: Mark Mondo.

* Washington County Veterans Hall of Fame Committee Chair Award of Excellence: Janelle Patterson.

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