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Honoring their own

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AFJROTC families, cadets gather for awards ceremony

By Cindy DiFazio

Staff writer/photographer

Airplane-shaped cookies iced in red, white and blue frosting and two-liter bottles of Stars and Stripes soda were the refreshments served at the Henry County High School Air Force Junior Ninth Annual Awards Night last Thursday.

“Those cookies were the talk of the entire place, believe it or not!” Lt. Col. Mark Fassio said. “Maybe I  should’ve issued those instead of medals.”

The program, held at Henry County Middle School was well-attended by honorees and their families as well as representatives of various military organizations. “This is the evening once a year we honor our own,” he said. “It’s a big deal for us.”

Kenneth Gaines, a quiet and according to his parents, shy junior, received the Military Officers Association of America medal. His bearing was military.

Gaines said his future revolves around becoming an officer in the United States Air Force. After high school graduation, he will attend the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Co.

Fassio said Gaines was a good candidate for the MOAA medal. “He’s a sleeper,” Fassio said, “never gives us a peep, but shows real military leadership.”

He gave cadets’ parents a lot of credit for the role they play.

“You are half the equation in your son’s or daughter’s success,” Fassio said, “but success begins with these young men and women in the audience.”

Medals, ribbons and certificates were awarded in 25 different categories:

• Air Force Association - Andrew Hitt

• Air Force Sergeants Association presented by Chuck Blattner - Erick Butler

• American Legion Scholastic - Terah Slack

• American Legion General Military Excellence - Jordan Holden

• Daughters of the American Revolution presented by Ann Marie Scott - Tiffany Price

• Disabled American Veterans - Rachel Thorley

• Daedalian Medal - Christy Neely

• Reserve Officers Association - Tara Storey

• Military Order of the World Wars presented by Maj Gen Carl Black- Molly Martin

• Military Officers Association of America presented by CWO Bob Hamilton - Kenneth Gaines

• Veterans of Foreign Wars - Tasha Floyd

• National Sojourners - Ashley Asher

• Sons of the American Revolution presented by Philip Yenowine- Aaron Wedge

• Scottish Rite of Freemasonry presented by Maj Gen Carl Black- Heather Wills

• Military Order of the Purple Heart - James Mattingly

• Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War - Cliff Dillie

• Tuskeegee Airmen - Amanda Wilson and Dustin Barnsfather

• Retired Enlisted Association - Kevin Quire

Local awards also were distributed. One cadet in each grade was named “Outstanding Cadet.” They were:

• Freshman Rachel Thorley

• Sophomore Aaron Wedge

• Junior C. Vinup

• Senior Jordan Holden

The Kentucky Army National Guard “Outstanding Cadet” medal went to Tom Cabe.

A “Certificate of Dedication” was presented by Lindsey Mayse representing the Henry County Chamber of Commerce to:

• Zac Bramblett

• Machelle Cox

• Ashley Cox

• Beth Haberman

• Heather Willis

• Cindy Dillie

• Kayla Quire

A “Most Improved Cadet Certificate” was awarded by MSgt Ted Bothur of the Kentucky Air National Guard to Diego Ferman.

The Embry-Riddle “Celebrate Freedom” award went to Christy Neely.

The Disabled American Veterans  awarded outstanding cadet ribbons to:

• Janie Hedges

• Andrew Corley

• LeeAnne Brent

• Deven Carnal

• Mike Day

Citing the honorees’ military bearing and academics, Fassio said the more than 30 cadets honored were the best of the best. “These cadets are the vanguard,” Fassio said.

 

E-mail us about this article at news@hclocal.com.