• 66°

Madson to be guest speaker at veteran’s service

Lavona Johnson recalled watching the nephew of a friend stand in front of the sanctuary at Grace Lutheran Church, tears running down his face.

The event was Veterans Sunday, held each year to honor all veterans. This year’s event will be held at 9 a.m. on Sunday at Grace Lutheran.

During the service, each branch of the military is asked to stand by a flag, while their branch’s hymn is sung. She was not sure her friend’s nephew would participate, but then she saw him make his way to the front of the church.

“He was a Vietnam veteran,” recalled Johnson. “It was the first time” anyone had acknowledged his service.

“There were tears running down his face — it meant that much,” she added. “He cried all the way back” to his seat.

Johnson first organized the event in 2003, as a way to honor the service our armed forces provide. She knew about it first-hand.

Her husband, the late Richard Johnson, rarely talked about his service in the U.S. Navy during World War II, “but it was in his heart and in his mind. To me, it’s important to honor our service people, for the time they give up to make us safe.”

This year, Mower County Veterans Service Officer Wayne Madson will be the featured speaker at the Veteran’s Sunday service.

He will speak about the Veterans Service Office and, perhaps more importantly, the Mower County Veterans Council, which provides assistance, such as food and rent, for veterans living in the county. There are, today,  2,900 veterans living in Mower County, he said.

“This really is a case of veterans working for veterans,” he said.

Randy Mickelson will lead the worship.

All veterans of any conflict or age are welcomed to attend. A veterans breakfast of coffee and sweet rolls will follow the service.