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Troy Shoemaker Of Fayette Is The Dictionary Definition Of A Survivor


By: Timothy Kays
THE VILLAGE REPORTER
In a letter to General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard
dated October 3, 1865, General Robert E. Lee said, True
patriotism sometimes requires of men to act exactly contrary, at one period, to that which it does at another, and
the motive which impels them the desire to do right is
precisely the same. 136 years later, those words echoed
true. September 11, 2001 changed more than just our
nation, it changed the people of our nation. Indeed, there
were those who were calling for full restraint, citing what
they believed was a need for a dialog to discover how we
might have offended the radical Islamists who snuffed out
the lives of 2,996 innocent civilians. This movement was
almost immediately drowned out by those who wanted to
take up arms to defend their wounded country. This was,
the desire to do right, in the words of the sage Confederate general. One of those who answered the call was Troy
Shoemaker of Fayette.
Troy is a native of Eagle Country, and is a member of
the Fayette Class of 1998. He is the son of Sandy and Gary
Rice, and Brenda and Randy Shoemaker. He is an only
child, but in his own words he has, a bunch of stepbrothers and step sisters. He is the father of a son, Troy,
and a daughter, Jade, and is the Commander of the John
Dale Post #143 of the American Legion in Fayette.
As the news came out on the morning of September 11,
2001, and a shocked America watched horrific scenes of
death and destruction unfolding on their television screens,
Troy heard the call of his nation. September 11 thats
what put me in the Army, he recalled. I quit a pretty good
job in a tube mill over in Delta. September 11 I guess it
was my calling. I knew what I was getting myself into. In
my heart, I felt like I needed to do my part. I was always
intrigued by the military, and I had a lot of family that had
been in the military. He thought about it, and he too wondered why this had happened, but his final decision was
one of patriotic resolve. How do you endure something like
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that, to that effect, and put your tail between your legs?
Thats how I feel about it, he said. I mean, somebody has
to pay the consequences. We all do so why dont they?
Troy did three tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq, doling
out those consequences.
As a man who knew what he was getting himself into, the
insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq threw everything but
the kitchen sink at him. We have all heard or read news
reports of military convoy casualties that came about as
a result of contact with an IED, or Improvised Explosive
Device. Many gruesome images have been beamed into
our homes, showing what happens to soldiers when the
armored vehicle they are riding in encounters one of these
roadside bombs. Troy became more than just a little familiar with them in his time in the sandbox.
I lost a lot of buddies, he said. I got blown up six times.
Just so you know that what you just read is not a misprint,
allow me to make it clearTroy Shoemaker survived six - a
half dozen - explosive encounters with IEDs. I was armor.
I spent five years on a Bradley; my first two tours were
in an armored vehicle. He went straight from Kuwait to
Baghdad, first providing for security at the Baghdad Airport, then providing short range air defense with Stinger
missiles guided by AWACS surveillance planes and C-130
gunships. Since there was no real need for air defense, his
group of armored and tracked vehicles were assigned other
duties transportation of the media, transportation and
security for high-ranking officials and transportation of
prisoners. They were also given another task, that of route
clearance duties looking for IEDs. Sometimes, the IEDs
found them before they could find the IEDs. We spent
fourteen months doing that before I was sent back to Germany, he said.
When I got back to Germany, Troy continued, my
unit was being deactivated, so I came down on orders for
the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR) which at that
time was at Fort Carson, Colorado. I got to Fort Carson,
and immediately came down on orders to go back to Iraq.
We went back over to South Baghdad and did all kinds of
missions there. That year, 2005, the Third ACR was tasked
with the biggest mission of 2005, and they moved us to Tal
Afar.
Under the command of then Colonel H. R. McMaster
(now Lieutenant General), the Third ACR, supported by
units of the New Iraqi Army, was tasked with removing a
strong Al Qaeda presence from the city of Tal Afar. What
awaited Troy and the Third ACR was street to street and
house to house fighting. Its a pretty big city, Troy said.
Probably about the size of Toledo.
Of the battle, Troy said, Seeing as how we were cavalry, we were self-contained we were a self-sustaining
unit. We had the engineers come in, and they built a berm
around the city. We dropped leaflets from airplanes and
helicopters, saying that we were allowing 72 hours for everybody to leave the city. Nobody could come in, but anybody could leave. After 72 hours, anybody left was fair
game. We spent 42 days going through every building, every room, every hut everything in the entire city. That
was my toughest tour OIF-III (Operation Iraqi Freedom).
We lost a couple guys in my platoon during that mission. It
was a rough tour. It was that tour that I was blown up six
times, and that last one really rattled my brain. It was two
155 mm artillery shells that blew us up that last time. To
this day, my buddy still has an open wound in his stomach
from being blown up in a HUMVEE. The Battle of Tal Afar
was costly, but it was a decisive victory for Colonel McMaster and the Third ACR.
General Robert E. Lee had another quote that has echoed
through time. Watching Union General Ambrose Burnside
ordering suicidal frontal assaults on the entrenched positions of General James B. Longstreet on Maryes Heights
at the Battle of Fredericksburg on December 13, 1862, Lee
said to Longstreet, It is well that war is so terrible, otherwise we should grow too fond of it. Of the terrors of war,
Troy is more than familiar. When you take somebodys
life, you see that face for the rest of your life, he said with
downturned eyes. Ive seen buses loaded with Iraqi soldiers being blown up, and soldiers running off the buses
burned up and on fire. Ive cleaned up the body parts. Ive
loaded trucks with bodies, torsos, arms, legs. Ive got pictures of some really gruesome (expletive). It really went
down. I know what I did. Ive got pictures to remind me of
what I did. Theyre not pretty pictures.
Sent back to Fort Carson, Troy cross trained in long-

PHOTO PROVIDED

TAL AFAR ... Troy and the soldiers of the Third ACR
kicked the Al Qaeda insurgents to the curb in the biggest
campaign of 2005.

range aerial surveillance. He was then sent to Afghanistan,


where his group dispatched QRFs (Quick Response Forces)
to take out bands of hostile Taliban forces that they had
detected. As the drawdown of forces in Afghanistan accelerated, Troys group doubled as aerial recon, and a self-dispatched QRF. In 2009, Troy Shoemaker finally came home
to stay. He has been declared 60 percent disabled, and has
post traumatic stress disorder, but he also has just accepted a security position at the Michigan State Prison.
I did three pretty hard tours, Troy recalled. Seen a lot
more than the average person could deal with. Your mind,
over time, tends to block some of it out. It takes two or
three guys talking about it to remember, Hey we did do
that! Your mind tends to shut it down. I might get a raised
eyebrow every once in a while when someone finds out that
Im a disabled veteran, and Im standing here with all my
body parts working a full-time job. A lot of the injuries are
those that people cant see. Whether you can or cant see
them, theyre real they really are.
He has his pension, and he has his medical care as a
small thanks from the government for his service. Troy
does however, have strong opinions about the recently disclosed shortcomings of the Veterans Administration (VA).
The Vietnam vets are continuing to get screwed, he said.
He went on to say that he heeded the advice of older service members, and did not wait to get enrolled in the VA,
he did it immediately upon discharge. The diagnoses of his
disabilities and his PTSD were expedited, and help was
quickly made available, but still he questions the organizational aspects of the system that is locally sourced from
Toledo and Ann Arbor. I had a PTSD checkup recently and
they sent me to Columbus Grove, he said. Why Columbus
Grove? It was an independent doctorin his house, he
said with a look of surprise and disdain.
Continuing, he said, I transferred from Toledo to Ann Arbor because, after I was diagnosed with severe PTSD, they
assigned me to a doctor from the Middle East. How do I go
in there and tell him exactly whats on my mind, without
feelings of prejudice? I had a hard time with that. Its hit or
miss for me with the VA it depends upon the situation.
Theyre there for you when you need them, but any
CONTINUED ON PAGE 3

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2 - THE VILLAGE REPORTER - VETERANS DAY TRIBUTE

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 5TH, 2014

Fulton County Senior Center


To Host Veterans Breakfast

Fulton County Veterans


Hall Of Fame Presentation

All seniors are invited to a Veterans


Breakfast on Monday, November 10 at
9:00 am at Fulton County Senior Center,
240 Clinton Street, Wauseon
Free breakfast for all veterans and
spouses age 60 and over. On the menu will
be sausage gravy and biscuits, pancakes,

sausage links and fruit.


All seniors are welcome! Suggested
$1.50 donation for seniors who are neither
veterans nor spouses of veterans.
Please call 419-337-9299 by November
3 to make your breakfast reservations.

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2

Troy Shoemaker Of Fayette Is


PHOTO SUBMITTED

FULTON COUNTY VETERANS HALL OF FAME PRESENTATION ... From left to right
Floyd Franks, Fulton County Veteran Service Commissioner, Ed Roth, Fulton County Veteran Service Commissioner, DeFord R. Schwall WWII Army Veteran, receiving
Ohio Hall of Fame recognition, Timothy Gorrell, ODVS Director, Honorable Judge
Barber, and Paul Barnaby, Fulton County Commissioner.

Veterans Memorial Building


Honors Williams County Veterans
painted patriotic murals
by Deb Green, a local
artist from Edon, Ohio.
The Memorial Building
is a very popular host
to many events held in
the community, and is
available for rental for
a wide variety of functions, including wedding receptions, family
events and other large
gatherings. The reception hall accommodates
up to 456 guests, and
the facility contains a
food service area comVILLAGE REPORTER PHOTO plete with all necessary
PROUDLY DISPLAYED ... Flag Plaza at the Williams appliances, as well as a
County Veterans Memorial Building.
bar.
Located outside of
the
building, Memorial
MONTPELIER - The Veterans MePark
holds
monuments
(referred to
morial Building, along with Memorial
as
steles)
for
all
wars
Mexican
War
Park located at the Williams County
thru
the
present,
with
the
names
of
Fairgrounds is a fitting and honored
all
Veterans
from
Williams
County,
memorial to the men and women
from Williams County who have sac- as well as a flag display in the area
known as Flag Plaza.
rificed and served our nation.
For complete information on the
The entrance way to the building
building,
visit www.williamscouncontains memorial plaques honoring
tyveteransmemorial.com.
servicemen from each wartime era,
as well as beautifully crafted hand
VILLAGE REPORTER ARCHIVES

PHOTO PROVIDED

SOUTH BAGHDAD - OIF-III ... Troy and his platoon dismount squad get ready to board
a Blackhawk helicopter.

kind of follow-up is going to take at least


six weeks before you can see any type of
a doctor. As a nation, can we not do so
much better for those who fought for us
abroad so that we wouldnt have to fight
for ourselves in our own backyards?
Since hes been back, Troy has encouraged people to support organizations like
the Wounded Warrior Project and the local American Legion and VFW posts so
that ages of veterans have places to turn
to. The way I see it, he said, the Legions are falling off. Im one of the youngest members up there (Post #143); theres
just no participation in this kind of stuff
anymore.
We as a nation owe soldiers like Troy
Shoemaker, and veterans young and old
like him, a debt that we cannot possibly

repay in our brief lives on this earth. Even


soc an we not make at least a down
payment on that debt? A donation to the
Wounded Warrior Project, one of Troys
favorite service organizations, would be a
great start. How about coming out to the
Fayette Legion post for one of their Friday
fish frys? I can tell you from experience
that the Cajun fried fish is exceptional,
and the company is superb. Support your
local Legion or VFW post.
Please please dont just sit there
thinking that the next guy will take care of
it. Too many times, the next guy is thinking that you will take care of it. Stand up
and take a stand for those who stood in
harms way in your stead!
Timothy Kays can be reached at
tim@thevillagereporter.com

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ATTORNEYS YOU KNOW ATTORNEYS YOU CAN TRUST

THE VILLAGE REPORTER - VETERANS DAY TRIBUTE - 3

Wauseon Veteran Deford Schwall To Be


Inducted Into The Ohio Veterans Hall Of Fame
By: Tammy Allison

THE VILLAGE REPORTER

Deford Schwall, a member of what Tom Brokaw has


named the Greatest Generation, will soon join the ranks
with other distinguished Ohio veterans such as Neil Armstrong, John Glenn, and Clark Gable. Schwall, a decorated veteran from Wauseon, has been selected to be inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame. Created by former
Governor George V. Voinovich in 1992 to demonstrate his
concern for Ohio veterans, the Hall of Fame is not a military hall of fame but rather acknowledges veterans for
their lifetime contributions.
To be eligible, a veteran must have been born in Ohio
or lived in Ohio for a minimum of five years and have
received an honorable discharge from active duty. The
nomination process includes a summary of the veterans
educational and professional employment, civic contributions and honors, veterans advocacy contributions, and a
detailed narrative of why the veteran is deserving of such
an honor. Floyd Franks, a veteran himself, nominated
Schwall based on his patriotic and civic minded contributions to the community of Wauseon.
Deford served with the 101st Airborne Division with
the United States Army as a paratrooper during World
War 2. He is a decorated veteran with three battle scars,
a Bronze Star, two purple hearts, and an arrowhead. An
arrowhead recognizes those who were involved in an invasion. For Deford, he saw action as a co-pilot of a C 42
glider at the Operation Market Guard invasion in Holland.
Despite these honors, Deford stands by his belief that he
is no hero.
After the war, we veterans just came home and
worked. We never talked about our war experiences.
After returning home from war, Deford, a graduate of
Ohio Northern, practiced law for three years and hated it.
He returned to Wauseon in 1951 to join his father in the
insurance agency business. He and spouse Lois decided
to make Wauseon home and raise their family.
Deford credits having a wonderful office staff at the
agency which allowed him to be active in the community.
He was always active in the Wauseon Chamber of Commerce and served as President. Homecoming Parade contributions included serving on the committee, entering
a business float in the parade, announcing the parade
route for twenty-five years, and even serving as Grand
Marshall of the parade one year. Schwall was also active with his church Christ United Methodist in various
roles. He served as a Master in the Masonic Lodge and
was instrumental in the building project of the Lodge on
the corner of Clinton and Elm Streets.
The Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame also considers a veterans advocacy and contribution to community awareness
and recognition of patriotism and veterans. Deford who
emphasizes his passionate love for the American flag and
his country has worked tirelessly to spread his heartfelt
sense of patriotism to others. In 1993, urged by a sense
that the overall sense of patriotism was lacking, Deford
organized a 20 person committee that met evenings. Together, they collaborated and orchestrated an event called
Celebrate America. The event, held at the Fulton County
Fairgrounds, included a publication of veterans photos,
information about the American Legion and the VFW,
various patriotic publications, and advertising from businesses which funded the event. Deford worked closely
alongside Sherryann Franks.
Sherryann Franks expresses, Mr. Schwalls endless
contributions are extremely hard to track. I have never
met someone who does so much for others and always
under the radar of recognition. This man truly gives from
the heart and never expects anything in return. I am
proud beyond words to say he has been my role model
for years.
Deford, a lifetime member of the Wauseon American
Legion Post 265, served as Commander for a time and
was instrumental in starting a public candlelight steak
and crab dinner to raise funds for the Legion to use towards services and programs for the area veterans. He
also organized an Americanism committee and started

PHOTO PROVIDED

HONORED VETERAN ... Deford Schwall and Timothy


Gorrell, State Director of Veterans Service.
a Memorial Day program. For the program, he secured
such speakers as Woody Hayes. Deford has fond memories of sitting in his living room visiting with Hayes.
Deford describes himself as tremendously proud to
be an American. He stresses that all of America, from
those involved in the military to the farmers and factory
workers on American soil, restored freedom in Europe
during World War 2. Because the young men returning
from war didnt talk about their experiences, much living
history has never been recorded. About 8 years ago, Deford created a living history video project and interviewed
Fulton County veterans in a recording of over 60 hours of
veterans experiences.
The combination of his many community and civic
projects and his dedication towards veterans has led to
the decision of Deford Schwall to be one of a select, distinguished few to be inducted in this years Veterans Hall
of Fame. Because of his health, Deford has asked Floyd
Franks to accept his award at the Induction Ceremony
at the Lincoln Theatre in Columbus on November 6th.
Although Deford is unable to attend this event, he was recently honored at the local Fulton County Veterans Service Office on October 15th by State Director of Veterans
Services, Timothy Gorrell.
Humbled by the honor, Schwall believes he is not a
hero but simply a man who loves his country. Defords
tireless efforts for the community of Wauseon make him
a hometown hero to many and a Veteran to honor this
Veterans Day.
Tammy may be reached at
publisher@thevillagereporter.com

How To Show Your Appreciation


To Members Of The Military
Civilians who join the military find their lives change
forever upon entering the service. The armed forces shape
a person, teaching discipline, humility, bravery, and many
other life lessons. Joining the military often means making
substantial personal sacrifices, as servicemen and women
are typically called away from their families and the comforts of home.
Many grateful men and women want to show their
appreciation to those who risk their lives to defend their
country, but they may not always know how. The following
are a number of ways you can show your appreciation to
members of the military.
Thank a service member. If you see a person in uniform, thank them for their service to the country. Use the
persons title if you can identify rank, or simply use the
respectful terms of sir or madam. Though a simple gesture, a verbal token of gratitude can go a long way toward
brightening a soldiers day.
Volunteer with a veterans association. Volunteering is
another way to show veterans and active service members
how much you appreciate the sacrifices they have made.
Volunteer at a veterans hospital or help to organize an
event thats commemorating the efforts of local veterans
and active service members.
Propose an event to honor local service members. Petition a town council for a special parade to honor your communitys military personnel, including veterans and active
duty members.
Raise funds. Fundraisers are another way to show
military members how much you appreciate their service.
Collect money for a military-based scholarship, asking a local high school or university to establish the scholarship in
the name of a local veteran or active duty service member.
Provide a forum in which a serviceman or servicewoman can share his or her story. Soldiers can offer unique
insight on issues that affect civilians, and the community
can benefit from servicemen and women who share their
stories. When hosting a community event, ask a soldier to
be a keynote speaker.
Send gifts to active military. Make care packages or
write cards and thank you notes to stationed troops. Organizations like the USO, Military-Missions.org or AnySoldier.com can ensure your packages make their way into the
hands of soldiers.
Help an active duty service members family. Spouses
of active duty military personnel often must handle all of
the chores that come with managing a household on their
own. To show how much you appreciate a service members
efforts, offer to lend a hand around his or her house. This
can make life easier on a service man or womans spouse,
and your companionship may provide a world of good. You
can even go the extra mile by organizing a military spouse
appreciation night at a nearby church or recreation hall.
Offer free babysitting and provide refreshments and entertainment.
Publicly display your patriotism. Active duty service
members and veterans joined the military to defend our
way of life, and you can show pride for your country and
appreciation for their efforts by hanging a flag outside of
your home.
Pick up the tab. Surprise a person in uniform by paying for his or her meal at a restaurant. Its a simple gesture,
but it shows how much you appreciate that service members sacrifice.
Gestures that show military personnel how much you
appreciate them need not be lavish. Any and all expressions of gratitude can make a world of difference.

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4 - THE VILLAGE REPORTER - VETERANS DAY TRIBUTE

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 5TH, 2014

Pioneers Eidenier - A True Citizen Soldier


By: T.J. Hug
THE VILLAGE REPORTER
Perhaps there is no greater myth
in military lore than the citizen soldier.
A friend, neighbor, or family member, who puts their everyday life on
hold to defend this country, only to
resume that life upon their return,
unchanged by what they may have
seen or done in service; that is what
constitutes a citizen soldier. Whether
it be due to the horrors of war, or the
discipline and lifestyle of the military,
being a soldier is a life altering experience. To think that one could ever be
the same after going back to civilian
life is almost unfathomable.
Not for Ernie Eidenier, though.
The Pioneer native was drafted
into the army in 1951, as the United States battled the North Koreans
in the Korean War. Eidenier, about
twenty years old at the time, was
working at Heacocks Hardware Store
when he was called into service. His
everyday life had been uprooted, and
he was being sent off to fight a group
of people with whom he held no personal grudge. How did this make him
feel?
Pretty indifferent, actually.
Back then, you did your duty,
Eidenier remembered.
Fort Knox was the sight of Eideniers basic training. This went on
for six grueling weeks. Then, he went
through advanced training before being shipped to Tokyo, Japan via Canadian Pacific Airways.
Once arriving in Tokyo, Eidenier
noticed that he was surrounded by
riflemen, which led him to assume he
would be sent to the front lines. Fortune was on his side, however. One
of only two men freshly delivered to
Tokyo given the option, Eidenier enrolled at the Naval Academy Etajima.
Up until the Second World War, Etajima was the most prestigious Naval
Academy in Japan. During American occupation, it served as a training ground for the militarys best and
brightest stationed in the area.
Eidenier, who was enrolled into
clerical school at Etajima, was grateful for the opportunity.
I felt real lucky, said Eidenier
of being selected to attend the Naval
Academy.
During his time at Etajima, Eideniers class occasionally took day trip,
taking in nearby Japanese sights.
One of those sights happened to be
Hiroshima, five years after the first

atomic bomb in history had been


dropped there. He still recalls the appearance of the site.
It made you realize that, (the bomb)
was pretty devastating .
Wood
buildings
and huts were gone,
barely recognizable in
the aftermath of the
blast.
Stone structures remained standing, but were ruined by
the bombs impact as
well.
Seeing fortifications set up along
the Japanese beaches also stuck out
in Eideniers mind during the day
trips.
Upon completion of his training
at Etajima, Eidenier was assigned
to a casualty report division, serving
the 8th and 82nd Armies. All service units in said armies would report their dead to Eideniers division,
and they would in turn transfer the
information to Tokyo. Eidenier delt
strictly with reports when it came to
the dead.
All we had was the paper work.
Eidenier clarified. We had nothing to
do with the bodies.
Eidenier first found himself stationed in Tague, Korea. From their,
he was sent to Pusong. His last stop
during his tenure in the army was
Seoul. The South Korean capital, in
particular, stuck out in Eideniers
mind.
It was pretty well bombed out,
recalled Eidenier.
The North Koreans had bombed it
twice by that point, so that stood to
reason.
After eighteen months of service,
Eidenier was released from duty in
1953. Traveling back to American
soil, he was discharged at Fort Custard, Michigan. His heart still went
out to those still in Korea, especially
those seeing combat.
They had it rough.
His time in the military wasnt
quite over, however. Eidenier was
amongst those selected to take what
was known as The Korean Honor
Flight. On September 24 of that
year, the chosen soldiers were flown
to Washington D.C.
There, they
toured the monuments, such as the
Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. They were also very
well received by everyone they met.
They treated us like kings. Eidenier said of the trip.

We Salute Our Veterans

Slattery Oil Co.


Your Marathon
Dealer
PHOTO PROVIDED

VETERAN ... Ernie Eidenier was


drafted into the army in 1951 as the
U.S. battled in the Korean War.
Returning home to Pioneer, things
pretty much went back to normal
for Eidenier. He returned to work at
Heacocks. Eventually, he met a girl
named Donna, who worked at Beckers Restaurant next door. The two
married, having three children named
Dwayne, Scott, and Vickie.
In 1959, the couple opened their
own store, Eideniers Gamble Hardware Store. The shop stayed open for
thirty years, and is now an antique
store. The two also worked within the
North Central School system, as Ernie drove a bus for seventeen years,
while Donna worked in the cafeteria
for twelve. Ernie retired from driving
in 1991.
Eideniers service in the military
didnt seem to alter the course of his
life. He simply went to Korea, did
what he needed to do, and resumed
his life after returning home. It would
seem as though he is the embodiment
of the citizen soldier.
He still thinks about Korea, however.
They say it was the forgotten war.
Eidenier proclaimed. Well, 33,000
families havent forgotten.
Perhaps its too much to expect
someone to escape war completely
unaffected, even if they are a mythical figure.

Thank You To Those Who Served

T.J. Hug can be reached at


publisher@thevillagereporter.com.

T hank You Veterans

CUSTOM AGRI SYSTEMS, INC.


255 Co. Rd. R
Napoleon, Ohio 43545
www.casindustries.com

Phone: 419-599-5180
Fax: 419-592-5180
Email:customag@bright.net

Tracys Auto Repair LLC


419-924-5210
www.bgoutdoorpower.com
Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Saturday 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Tracy Harding
Owner / Technician

In honor of
those who have served

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you
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financial
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served.
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www.edonstatebank.com
Mike Aeschliman

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FAX (419) 445-4275

SW mills inc.
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WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 5TH, 2014

CREDIT UNION NOW TO THE COMMUNITY!

Gearig All-Star
Insurance Agency Inc.
1239 East Main Street
Montpelier, Ohio 43543

419-485-5112
THE VILLAGE REPORTER - VETERANS DAY TRIBUTE - 5

Pioneers Engel Still Fighting For Comrades


By: T.J Hug
THE VILLAGE REPORTER

Some people are just born for military life.


Take Skyler Engel for instance.
Completing basic training at Fort
Benning, Georgia, between his junior and senior years at North Central, thanks to the Split Ops Program, the Pioneer native entered
Infantry School directly after graduation. From their, he was stationed
at Fort Carson, Colorado, where he
stayed for a mere twenty days before
being deployed to Iraq.
Which is what I wanted, Engel
announced.
Ready and eager for active duty,
the then eighteen year old Engel was
sent to Sadr City, Iraq, a suburb of
Baghdad, where he came into the 4th
infantry division 1st battalion 68th
armored mechanized unit. It was in
this unit that he began his service
as a gunner, a job he claims isnt as
exciting as most would think.
People think being a gunner is
fun, but its pretty boring.
After enduring the long hours
of sitting and waiting required of a
gunner, Engel eventually became a
driver. Then, he took on the role of
dismount, a position he looked forward to fulfilling. Dismounts get to
leave the vehicles, entering buildings
and running security.
Engels unit, which specialized
in high tech weaponry, dealt mostly
with patrols and the transportation
of Prisoners of War. They handled
a fair amount of Improvised Explosive Devices as well. There were few
humanitarian missions given to his
division.
One particular transport Engel
recalled was for a former hit-man
who worked for Sadaam Hussein.
Known within the unit as The Shake,
this hit-man had decided to cooperate with U.S. Forces, providing them
with valuable intelligence. While Engel was not privy to what that intelligence entailed, he did stand guard
outside of the offices in which the
meetings occurred. One thing that
stood out from these encounters was
that The Shake had his own security
force stand guard as well.
Thats how you knew the guy
was serious. Stated Engel.
During his deployment, Engel
stayed at the U.S.S.U.R. Observation
Base, a small Iraqi military installation. The base held his company
and a single Iraqi unit, and lacked
the amenities that installations in
America usually include.
Engel,
like the other soldiers stationed in
U.S.S.U.R., slept on a cot, and had
to use port-a-potties to do his business.
At least we didnt have to go in
holes and bury it. Engel said, not
joking.
Unlike the buffets of bases within
the United States, food was a bit of
a crap shoot for Engels company.
Sometimes, usually on holidays,

they would receive some delicious


food shipment. At other times, the
quality of meals was suspect. It oftentimes depended upon the skill
level of the cooks.
As for combat, Engel certainly
fired his weapon. Yet, fighting in
Operation Iraqi Freedom was a bit
different from the traditional idea of
combat. Engel never fought the enemy head on.
It was more like, you get shot
at, and you shoot back at the area
you think it came from. Engel explained.
His actual interactions with the
Iraqi people were immensely positive. In fact, Engels experiences
with the natives, both soldiers and
citizens alike, were the highlight of
his time in Iraq.
I got to meet a lot of individuals.
Reminisced Engel. It was definitely
a cool experience.
That experience included breaking the language barrier. Engel and
local Iraqis communicated largely
through hand gestures, though
there was some minor language
learning taking place on both sides
as well. Through these unique social experiences, Engel made several
close friends in Iraq. His heart went
out to both the people and soldiers
in the rebuilding country.
They had it pretty rough.
Noticing the lack of valuable
equipment, such as body armor,
the Iraqi troops were lacking, Engel
would help them procure what they
needed to do their job safely. This
did not go unnoticed, as they would
return the favor by bringing him gifts
of food and other things.
Theyd bring me all kinds of
goodies for free. Engel Proclaimed.
Overall, Engel found the social
experience of his service to be a
unique, yet rewarding one. This is
something he attributes to the opportunity to serve overseas.
It was different to get out of the
United States.
Engel had to come back eventually, however. Unfortunately, he did so
sooner than expected after his Humvee was blindsided at an intersection, injuring his sternum. Surgery
was required to fix the issue, with a
metal bar being placed in his chest
for two years. As a result, he was
medically discharged from service,
as he would be seen as a liability to
his comrades given his condition.
Adjusting to civilian life proved
difficult for Engel, who moved back
in with his father after returning to
the States. It took two years for him
to make the transition, trading the
extreme structure of the military for
the complete and absolute lack of
structure that can come with its absence. He also missed his unit, as
hed become quite close with them.
It was almost like missing family, Engel recalled.
Following the advice of his brother, a former marine, Engel decided
to enroll at Trine University by us-

ARCHBOLD & DEFIANCE

HOMIERS MONUMENTAL

...bringing granite to life

Honoring all
who served.
Thank you for
protecting
our Freedom.
VETERANS DAY
NOVEMBER 11, 2014
The image is part of the Butler Indiana Veterans Memorial
Archbold: 221 N. Defiance 419-446-2400
Defiance: St. Rt. 66 North 419-784-3300
930 S. Clinton St. ~ Design Studio
www.homiersmonumental.com

PHOTO PROVIDED

VETERAN ... Skyler Engel enjoys


working for a purpose at Veterans
Office after fighting in Operation Iraqi
Freedom.

ing the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, taking up


Criminal Justice as his major. Now,
only months away from graduation,
he sits in the top two of his class, a
feat he attributes directly to his time
in the army.
We have those values that we
learned during service,
Engel
claimed, noting that academic excellence from former military is commonplace at Trine.
During his tenure at Trine, Engel searched for a job to bide his
time. He worked part-time at Titan
Tire for a bit, serving as third shift
security. That wasnt for him, however, as he sought a better use of his
time, which he found at the Williams
County Veterans Service Office.
Volunteering at the Veterans Office, Engel played a major part in the
World War II Restore Honor project.
The goal of said project was to search
through military records to see if local veterans of the great war were
deserving of the Bronze Star. Engel
sifted through 3,500 files in exactly
a years time, with sixty-four former
soldiers receiving their Bronze Stars
as a result.
The Veterans Office offered him
a job as an Administrative Assistant
because of his work and he eagerly
excepted. He doesnt plan on leaving
the office, and hopes to move up the
ranks as his superiors retire.
I love it, and plan on staying
here, Clarified Engel. Its more
than just a job.
Once again finding himself in
the service of his fellow soldiers, it
should come as no surprise that Engel feels that way.
Its what he was born to do.

HASCH BODY SHOP, INC.


Owner: Rex Hasch

HASCH BODY

DUPONT

Phone (419) 636-8925


Fax (419) 636-8669
1302 E. High St., Bryan, Ohio

SHOP, INC.

Rex H
ow

1302 E You
Hi h Veterans!
St B
Thank

A nice note of thanks to


all whom have served.

T.J. Hug can be reached at


publisher@thevillagereporter.com.

Licensed in Ohio & Indiana

6323 Co. Rd. K Edon, Ohio


419-272-2031
Cell: 419-212-0851

A.R.S. REFUSE SERVICE, INC.


200 Taylor Parkway
Archbold, Ohio 43502
800 West Barre Road
PO Box 10
Archbold, OH 43502
800.446.2520

Your LOCAL Company


We are a family owned and operated company
thank
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your
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Temporary cans available for household clean-ups.

(800) 823-6715

Fackler Monument Co.

411 W. Main St., Montpelier


419-485-5588 1-800-272-5588

Family owned and operated since 1924


Andrea Roerig, Owner

Serving Your Area


with Quality, Selection
& Service
See us before you buy
Shop & Compare
www.facklermonument.com

Now is the time to


purchase your memorial

E & H AUTO
CLINIC INC.
419.335.6771

1066 Ottokee Street Wauseon, Ohio 43567

Thank You Veterans

Shop at:

CarpetMart
Tile Vinyl Carpet Laminate
1020 S. Main St.
Bryan, OH 43506

Williams County
Veterans Service Office
Mary C. Oliver - Director/CVSO

www.
1425 E. High St.
Bryan, Ohio 43506
6 - THE VILLAGE REPORTER - VETERANS DAY TRIBUTE

Roger Krauss
419-636-4200

419-636-8812
619-636-7429
wmsctyvo@bright.net

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 5TH, 2014

Tyler Harris-Gorsuch The Hilltop Cadet That Became A United States Marine

TWO YEARS ... In just two years, Tyler has gone from Hilltop Cadet, to US Marine, to Ooh-Rahs on an AAV.
By: Timothy Kays
THE VILLAGE REPORTER
It is a departure from
normal to put a service
member who has yet to be
deployed in these pages.
It is also a departure from
normal for the reporter
to interject anything into
these tributes. That being
said, as the Sports Editor for the newspaper that
you are now reading, I have
come to know and become
close to hundreds of kids
in my line of work. Each
and every one of them is
special to me in his or her
own way. Some have endured and risen above adversities that would have
made adults two and three
times their age crumple
like wet cardboard. One of
those kids I met when he
was a sophomore. That was
thentoday he is a member
of the United States Marine
Corps. The young man I am
speaking of is Tyler HarrisGorsuch.
He is originally from
West Unity, Ohio, and
graduated
from
Hilltop
High School as a part of the
Class of 2012. The son of
Jeremy and Amy Gorsuch,
he has four siblingsAli,
Brayden, Lexi and Mckenzie. Tyler is currently stationed at Camp Lejeune,
North Carolina.
There are many things
that are well known about
Tyler. As a senior wideout
for the Cadet football team,
He made the highlight reel
on Big Board Friday Night
by hauling in a long touchdown pass from quarterback Tyler Shipman, resulting in what was referred
to on television as a Tyler
to Tyler touchdown connection.
What may not be so obvious about Tyler is his loyalty and dedication qualities that were well known
to his high school friends,
and now a part of his service credo, Semper Fidelis.
When his closest friend,
Kellen Keiser of Fayette,
was diagnosed with the
leukemia that eventually
claimed his life, Tyler went
out of his way to show the
world that he suited up for
Hilltop under the Friday
night lights, but he played
for Kellen. Somewhere on
his uniform, be it a wristband, a tape-up, or even his
cleats, Tyler had Kellens
name written and he had
several of his teammates
doing the same thing. Tyler
and Kellen were inseparable until the end, and even
then he found ways around
and through his broken
heart to honor his friend.
If you ever went to a Fayette hoops game when Hilltop was in town, you saw a
virtual sea of orange, the official color of juvenile leukemia. Sure, the home crowd
was bedecked in orange in
honor of Tylers best bud
but the Hilltop fans also put
aside their Red and White
to also dress in orange.
That was no coincidence
that was the work of Tyler Harris-Gorsuch. Before
he ever took the oath, this
kid was showing the world
that he already exuded that
which is Semper Fi Always Faithful.
What then made Tyler decide to take up the
call of his Uncle Sam? He
answered by saying, I de-

cided to join the Marine


Corps in December of my
senior year. I saw everyone making plans to go to
college or go play sports at
local colleges around the
area, and I had the same
ambitions. Then I decided
that at some point and time
that sports would end, and
I would be out in this dog
eat dog world without a
plan. So I decided to retire
a Hilltop football jersey on
Friday nights for the cloth
of this nation and put on a
Marine Corps uniform.
My
biggest
reasoning in joining the Marine
Corps was for a challenge,
he continued. I have always been a person that
has wanted to push himself
to the limit any way that I
could. I didnt want to go
and be the broke college
kid, sitting around waiting
on breaks to go home. That
just wasnt in my line of interest. I found something I
saw as a challenge, and I
accepted it and volunteered
myself to defend the flag we
hold near and dear to our
hearts.
When he gets to come
home to West Unity, you
can see by the smile that
this is the same Tyler
that everyone has always
known. But there is something more behind that
smile something more
durable and assured. You
can tell that he doesnt just
enjoy his work he loves it.
The thing that I like most
about the Marine Corps is

that no matter where you


go its just you and your
boys, he said. The only
thing that matters is the
man to you left and the man
to your right, because when
Uncle Sam comes knocking
on the door, the people
those men and the ones you
surround yourself with on
a daily basis, are the ones
that make sure you come
home safe to your family.
There is no greater feeling than knowing you have
people willing to put in the
same work as you to keep
this great country free, and
defend the Red, White, and
Blue.
By far my favorite thing
Ive done in the Marine
Corps was my trip to El
Paso, Texas, he continued.
We went out to Fort Bliss
in the desert and trained
with the Army. We went out
there, and the Army hosted
a fake war against us. We
fired blank rounds of ammo,
and had MILES (Multiple
Integrated Laser Engagement System) gear on the
weapons and vehicles. It
was like playing a game of
laser tag on 100 miles of
desert. My second favorite
experience would have to
be our training exercises
out in 29 Palms, California.
We shot on some live fire
ranges, and had helicopters, tanks, and LAR (Light
Armored Reconnaissance)
units shooting around us,
with artillery rounds going off. You name it, it was
there. Too me there was no

greater experience than to


see the things that the Marine Corps takes pride in
working as one big, oiled
machine.
So then, what makes up
a typical day in the life of
a young Leatherneck? My
typical day at work depends
on the day, really, he said.
Most days we wake up and
physically train, such as
runs, cardio, or anything we
can do to stay in shape. After that, I drive to work and
get classes, and work on
my AAV (Assault Amphibious Vehicle) until the day
is done. When we go to the
field and train, we are training with a combat mindset,
so we put ourselves in notional combat situations,
and we work out the kinks
and dents we have as a unit
to make our unit run on
trust and chemistry.
Would Tyler recommend
the USMC to everyone? I
cant really give my opinion as to if I recommend
the Marine Corps or not,
it all depends on the individual, he said. I believe if
you have the will and drive
to test yourself physically,
mentally and emotionally
you will be very successful
in the Marine Corps. In the
same sense you have to have
tough skin, because youre
going to take your lumps
just like anything else in
life. Coach Mike Bumb always used to tell me during
two-a-days, If it were easy,
everyone would be doing
it, and I live by that every
day. Its hard being away

and seeing the things your


friends and family are doing
back home, but seeing how
proud my family is of me
makes it all worth it.
To those who Tyler
has left behind in Northwest Ohio, Tyler sends his
thanks. People shake my
hand and tell me thank
you for your service, but it
wouldnt be possible without the support of everyone
back home. A lot of people
move on to bigger and better things and forget where
they came from, but no
matter where I go, my heart
will belong to two amazing
towns. Fayette and West
Unity made me who I am.
Seeing people come together
at athletic events and wear
orange to support a greater
cause together shows you
there are still good people
out there, and theres more
to life than money and all
these fancy things people
want in life. I think those
two towns have it figured
out. I wrote my will when I
was 18 years old. Life is too
short to be ungrateful for
what you have because you
never know when God will

call your name. I learned


that from two of the best
people I have ever met, Tina
and Kirk Keiser. I thank
everyone in that area for
teaching me the lessons
they did, and making me
who I am today. To my family I love you guys. To all
the teachers and people in
West Unity and Fayette,
you are awesome, and I
wouldnt have wanted to
be raised anywhere else.
God bless! Be proud to be
an American! These words
come with a certain gravity he has received his
marching orders. In a matter of days, Tyler will be deployed overseas.
Faithful to his Corps.
Faithful to his country
but faithful to his family,
friends and neighbors since
day one. Tyler Harris-Gorsuch has been, and always
will be, Semper Fidelis.
This Hilltop Cadet is
without a doubt the embodiment of the few, the
proud, the United States
Marines.
Timothy Kays
can be reached at
tim@thevillagereporter.com

THANK YOU FOR


YOUR SERVICE
AMVETS POST 54

20/20

Custom Molded
Plastics, LTD

Ronald E. Ernsberger

PRESIDENT
14620 Selwyn Drive - Holiday City, Ohio
419-485-2020
Cell: 419-770-2020
rernsberger@2020cmp.com

PHOTO PROVIDED

WAITING AND WATCHING ... Canteen in hand, Tyler


takes a brief break.

Throughout history, at home and overseas,


theyve put their love for their country above all else.
On Veterans Day,we proudly honor these brave men and
women for their courage, commitment and patriotism.
To all the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces
who have sacrificed so much, we thank you.

WOOLACE
ELECTRIC

Commercial,Industrial,andResidential

419-428-3161
01978
Co Rd 22A Stryker, OH 43557
(419) 428-3161
www.woolace.com

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 5TH, 2014

THE VILLAGE REPORTER - VETERANS DAY TRIBUTE - 7

WE SALUTE
OUR TROOPS
& VETERANS

8 - THE VILLAGE REPORTER - VETERANS DAY TRIBUTE

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 5TH, 2014