Commissioners Approve D-Day Celebration, Honor WWII Vets

(BEDFORD) – In the United States, D-Day is celebrated in remembrance of the brave soldiers who landed on the beaches of Normandy, France on June 6, 1944. These American and Allied soldiers, some which were killed in action, fought to liberate northwestern Europe from Nazi occupation and bring an end to WWII in Europe.


Lawrence County Veterans Affairs Officer Brad Bough wants to honor the WWII veterans in the surrounding area on the 75th anniversary of D-Day on June 6 at 11 a.m.
“We want to recognize the men and women of the greatest generation,” Bough says.
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Three WWII veterans attended the commissioners meeting:

  • James Lee Hutchinson, Technical Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force after going to radio school to be a radio specialist and gunner in the B-17 Flying Fortress during World War II.
  • David Jacobs, Navy Pharmacist’s Mate 2nd Class then reenlisted in the National Guard when he returned to Bedford and served 15 years and then two years in active Army Reserve.
  • Paul Miller, retired Colonel, serving both in the Navy and Army

Also present was Terry Sanders, who was immediate past state commander for disabled American veterans. He is the only person to ever serve in that position for two years and will be the guest speaker during the event.
All of these men will be planning the D-Day event.
Jacobs was stationed on Banika Island, a flat and narrow island in the Russell Islands Group in the Pacific, on D-Day.
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“We gave ourselves to our country,” says Jacobs. “We all now give back to our community. I have taken three oaths in my life. To the Boy Scouts, to serve my county on one to my wife on our wedding day. I still honor all those oaths today.”
Jacobs’ wife has been gone for 30 years, and he still wears the ring she placed on his finger.
To Jacobs, the D-Day celebration will honor those that made that oath to protect their country and serve with honor.
“It is also to educate the youth on what D-Day is,” he added. “Many have no idea what families, men, women, and children went through during WWII. I am a jew, and many don’t know about the Holocaust. The D-Day invasion allowed the Allies to finally defeat Germany.”
Bough and the veterans would like to share what the times, rations, music and the important women in the workforce – Rosie the Riveters.
The group is looking for volunteers to help with the event.
“It would be great to get a Rosie here, to have scouts help with the event and maybe even a music group to perform big band music,” Bough says.
Anyone that is wanting to be a part of the celebration can contact Brad Bough at the Veterans Affair Office at 812-275-6411.
The meeting began with the veterans leading the Pledge of Allegiance.
Bids for Rehabilitation Housing Project
Three bids were open and taken under advisement for the rehabilitation housing project.
Treasurer Agreements
The commissioners approved Treasurer Paula Stewart request to continue the Bureau of Motor Vehicles use agreement, and Hoosier Hills check processing agreement.
Grants for Probation Programs
The commissioners granted permission for Chad Shew, director of Lawrence County Community Corrections and Nedra Brock Fleetwood to seek grants for the Lawrence County Probation Department and several of their programs.
Prosecutor’s Office Seeking Grant
Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Mike Steiner requested permission to apply for a STOP grant through the Department of Justice, aimed at stopping violence against women.
Steiner says 20 percent of the crime in the county is against women and children.
He said the prosecutor’s office would be responsible for a 25 percent match. Officials are confident they should be able to find the money within the department for the match. The grant is for $180,000.
Telephone System
IT Director Scott Nikirk asked for approval on a new telephone contract with Smithville. The contract will provide new equipment and save the county more than $100 a month.
They will also purchase back the old phones for $25 each.
Highway and Bridge report
Lawrence County Highway Superintendent David Holmes reported crews are replacing culverts and preparing roads for the upcoming paving season.
The commissioners approved all of the paving bids opened last month.
Holmes reported there was damage to one of the abutments under one of the beams is busted at Stumphole Bridge over White River. He has contacted bridge inspectors who say they are not overly concerned with the damage at this time and crews will be working to make repairs.
Sheriff’s Department Updating Policy Manual
Sheriff Mike Branham reported that there were 153 inmates in the jail Tuesday morning, of those 119 were males, 34 females, 9 Level 6 convicted felons, and one parole hold and 7 Department of Correction holds.
Sheriff Branham reported that the department was awarded a more than $63,000 JAG Byrne Officer Safety and Wellness grant and he sought permission to use a portion of those funds to update the department’s manual.
“The manual was last updated in 2005,” he added. “It sorely needs to be done.”
The firm doing the update will also provide staff with daily reminders of the department’s policies.
“Every day they will receive a reminder of a policy,” Sheriff Branham added.
After the commissioners meeting, Sheriff Branham was headed to the statehouse to support bills to help increase the per diem or daily allowance for housing DOC holds.
“It cost between $50 to $55 to house an inmate a day,” Sheriff Branham added. “We are receiving $35 a day. The amount has not been increased since 1991, and now we are housing Level 6 felons…we would like to see a $20 increase to reflect what we are paying.”
Sheriff Branham is also supporting bills for public safety and school safety measures.
Weather Radios Still Available
Emergency Management Director Valerie Luchauer stated the weather radio distribution is going well and there are still several available for those that need one.
A free Severe Weather Spotter Training will be offered April 23 at 6 p.m. at the Mitchell Community Center.
She is also working on completing a multiple response trailer that could be used in different emergencies. The trailer will be named Disaster I.

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