Time again to salute “Our Heroes”
With Veterans Day on Wednesday, you will see that once again we have published a magazine to coincide with the day set aside to honor all the veterans of our country.
The magazine is titled “Our Heroes” and it is a special salute to some of the heroes of Faribault County.
This is the 18th year we have done this magazine, and it remains as one of the most popular things we do. Popular with our readers and popular with our staff here at the Register, as well. All of us have our own favorite veteran heroes among our family and friends.
Each year we try and find a variety of heroes to write about. We try to locate some from the different towns in the county, ones who served in different conflict and wars, or were not in combat at all.
I think we have done a fairly good job of doing exactly that this year. Inside the magazine there are stories of veterans who served in Vietnam, the Civil War, World War I, World War II and others.
There are stories of veterans, both men and women, from Blue Earth, Bricelyn, Wells, Kiester and Easton. We even snuck in a veteran who was living in North Dakota at the time of his enlistment and death, because he was born and raised in Blue Earth.
We have stories on veterans who only served a short time and others who were lifers. Some who served in the Army, the Navy and the Air Force.
Some of the subjects of our stories were killed in action. Others are still alive and able to tell their stories to us and let us share them with you.
So, while you might not have known any of these folks personally, we think you will find each and every one of their stories very interesting and well worth the time to read.
As usual, I get a little personally involved with the subjects of the stories I write about. This year I had one story about a veteran killed during World War II. Another story was about a Civil War veteran and his son who was killed in World War I. Then there was a story about three young men killed in the Vietnam War.
Three stories, six veterans, all deceased. It gets a little difficult to interview heroes who are dead – some of them dead for a hundred years or so.
So instead of interviewing them, it takes some research time to find out as much as possible about them and their time in the service.
This year, like many years, I had some help along the way. The idea to do a story about Samuel Clark and Charles Clark came from Samuel’s great-grandson.
Randy Nelson’s grandfather was Samuel Clark Jr. Nelson first sent me the idea in November of 2018, too late to do anything in that year’s Heroes magazine.
And in 2019 we had some other ideas we ran with. However, now in 2020 I decided to feature Charles Clark. Then I discovered his father, Samuel, was a Blue Earth pioneer, soldier, and is buried in Riverside Cemetery in Blue Earth.
So the story became a combination featuring both the father and the son.
I looked for a story about a veteran from the Wells vicinity and ended up learning about three from the area who were killed in a 16 day stretch at the start of the Tet Offensive in Vietnam.
Betsy Hermanson had already found a lot of information on the men who were featured in the 2021 Wells Depot Museum calendar.
As a person who graduated from high school in 1968, and had the potential of being drafted and sent to Vietnam (and had lots of friends who were), those kinds of stories have a special meaning for me.
It was A.B. Russ who gave me the idea of doing a story about Mahlon Heinrich, killed in a plane crash at the start of World War II. While he wasn’t killed in combat, it was a life ended too soon while in service to his country.
It was A.B. who also suggested doing a story about a woman who works at Seneca Foods Mary Rosamond, who had been in the Armed Forces for many years, as had several members of her family.
Easton Legion member Chelsey Sonnek suggested talking to a 96 year old veteran, Louis Staloch, who had vivid memories of all his military experiences.
And Bricelyn Legion Commander Larry Helland has helped us on stories in the past about the Legion.
Turns out, he had some interesting duties in the service as well.
We thank all of them for their help in our creation of this year’s “Our Heroes” magazine. They each assisted us in coming up with such a wide variety of veterans to write stories about.
We hope you enjoy reading about them. And, as always, we take this time to salute all our military veterans, past and present, for what they did and what they are still doing.
They are all heroes and deserve a big thank you from all of us.