River View honors military during basketball games

| January 24, 2017
Retired and active military salute the flag during the National Anthem at River View High School as part of a ceremony honoring all active and retired military personnel. Jen Jones | Beacon

Retired and active military salute the flag during the National Anthem at River View High School as part of a ceremony honoring all active and retired military personnel. Jen Jones | Beacon

WARSAW – The boys basketball games held at River View High School on Jan. 20 honored a large group of very special people. Any person who is or was in the military received free admission to the games and free concessions that night.  During the break between the JV and varsity games, all veterans and current military were called to the center floor as the American flag was carried in and the RV pep band played the National Anthem.

Rod Lindsey, athletic director at River View, said the Ohio High School Athletic Association had asked that all high schools in the state join together to honor active and veteran service members on Jan. 20. Lindsey said River View feels strongly that their students should understand and honor the sacrifices our military has made and are continuing to make.

Lindsey and Josh Bowman, head boys basketball coach at RV, asked Karen Moran to help in the plans. Moran is a teacher at RV and is the Spirit Club advisor. She printed “Thank you” pictures for the students to hold during the ceremony and organized her spirit club of nearly 120 students to help as needed that night. After the military walked into the gym, Bowman took a few minutes to thank each of them for their service.

Jim Barstow, Coshocton County Veteran Services Officer, then spoke and offered his thanks to each person who has served. Barstow was in the Navy from 1977 – 1981. When asked why he chose to enlist in the Navy, he said that he always had a passion for travel and he thought the Navy would be the best fit for him. Although his favorite place is Fresno, Ohio, he enjoyed parts of each place he saw during his tours. He traveled to Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore and many other places.

Barstow said he feels truly blessed to be able to help veterans find benefits they need and are entitled to. His office is open Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is in the basement of the county courthouse. He can be reached at 740-622-2313 and encourages veterans to call his office if they need medical assistance or have emergency financial needs.

Gary Kilpatrick also helps in the county veteran’s service office. He was drafted into the Army in 1968 and spent a year in Vietnam carrying the radio for the commanding officer of his unit. He said he chose to do this because no one else wanted to carry the radio because of the danger. During 1968, he watched as men were drafted and left for Hawaii, but when his number was chosen, he was sent to Vietnam. When he left the Army, he was classified as a Spec 4 and said the AIT (Advanced Individual Training) he received in communications helped him when he returned to the United States. He became a teacher and taught (and coached) at both Coshocton City and River View School Districts.

Daniel Cullison is a senior at River View and recently enlisted in the Navy. He will be the third generation of his family to be in the Navy. While his family history did help him choose the Navy, the educational and financial benefits were also important to him. He will receive college credits in electronics and mechanics and that will help him follow his career working with nuclear propulsion. Cullison will be leaving July 19 for Great Lakes Naval Base for 12 weeks of boot camp. He will then be sent to South Carolina.

Another veteran attending the ceremony was Gary Brenly. He was drafted in December 1965. As a 19-year-old, he watched others who had been drafted earlier in the year get sent to safer locations and hoped, if he was drafted, he would do the same. Unfortunately, that month, every man drafted was sent to Vietnam. Brenly said before he left for boot camp, he sold everything he had because he wasn’t sure he was ever coming back.

Brenly said he considers himself lucky as he was part of a special forces infantry unit that was designed to bring an end to the war. He trained and stayed with the same unit during his entire tour. He said most that were sent to Vietnam went as replacements and that the unit he was with became closer than brothers. Brenly believes that closeness is what helped keep them safer and the unit didn’t lose as many soldiers as others. Still, it was a scary life and each morning, he wondered if this would be his last.

Luckily, he was never injured and actually stayed in Vietnam an extra month so he would be done with the Army when he returned to the States. Brenly said, “I’m proud to have served and I would do it again for my country. Disrespecting the flag around me is fighting words. We would probably be speaking another language if not for our veterans.” His unit had about 370 men and around 80 of them get together each year for a reunion. The unit also has a website for anyone who would like to see pictures or read stories from their tour. The site is www.alphaassociation.org.

As the veterans lined the gym floor, the coaches, players and cheerleaders from both River View and Zanesville filed by to shake hands, say thank you and offer hugs. The crowd was on its feet and continually clapped as our military was shown the appreciation they deserve.


Category: People & Places

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