Friday, November 11, 2011

For those who served...


Farm Bureau event honors those who served


POCATELLO — Despite the brisk wind and cooler temperatures on Thursday morning, Cpl. Phillip Baldwin, of Fort Hall, received a warm welcome home.

Former members of the military in attendance at the Farm Bureau “Salute to Idaho Veterans” event did not pass up the opportunity to shake the young man’s hand.

“I’m feeling good,” Baldwin said. “I have no complaints.”

The local veteran’s legs were amputated after he stepped on a land mine during his first tour of duty with the U.S. Marine Corps in Afghanistan.

Baldwin indicated that he has been released from the hospital and has already started working with a physical therapist.

“It’s good to see such a high turnout today,” Baldwin commented. “There are a lot of veterans here locally, and they’re good guys.”

Baldwin, who arrived home on Tuesday, said he is learning how to get around just fine with help from his brothers.

“I encounter obstacles, but my brothers just pick up the wheelchair to get me over a small step (if need be),” Baldwin said. “They joke that it’s a good thing I’m not a big guy, or they might not be so inclined to do so.”

The program kicked off with an invocation and flag ceremony outside of the Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company of Idaho’s facility which overlooks the Gate City off Tierra Vista Drive.

Inside, James Hughes, the master of ceremonies, greeted the crowd of people, young and old alike.

“Many veterans in this room have stepped away from active duty decades ago, some of them for years and months,” Hughes stated. “Others in the room are in the midst of active duty, and I say thank you to you.”

The Pledge of Allegiance was recited with tenacity and verve by all in the room.

Veterans of war from each era were recognized and honored.

“The intention of Veterans Day is to thank those who are living for their service ... to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated,” said Commander Richard Hollingsworth of the Veterans of Foreign Wars group and President of the Bannock County Veterans Association.

Courage, honor and integrity are three qualities Hollingsworth tacked on to members of the military, past and present, during his speech.

He summed up his war experience by saying: “I watched my friends die in the most horrible ways possible. We shared tears and laughter through bitter trials filled with pain, but I will always remember and hold true to the brotherhood. God bless America and I salute all of you veterans.”

The event coincided with the 236th birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps.

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