Veterans, students and members of the Washington VFW Post 2661 honor guard were among those recognized at the annual VFW awards ceremony.

A few dozen people braved the cold and slick conditions to attend the ceremony Sunday, Feb. 12. The VFW and Auxiliary honored members, the VFW color guard, essay contest winners and Franklin County Honor Flight.

Awards for members of the year also were handed out.

Richard Bruckerhoff was named the VFW member of the year. He was cited by Commander Bob Dzurick for his dedication to the VFW, serving on the honor guard and being a board member.

Bruckerhoff was surprised by members of his family when receiving the award. He was brought to tears by the surprise, and the award.

JoAnn Smith received the Auxiliary member of the year honors. Auxiliary President Jean Graves thanked her for her countless volunteer hours and commitment to the organization. Smith also was surprised with a visit from her family.

A certificate of appreciation was presented to the Post 2661 Honor Guard. Honorary members Charlie Driemeyer, Rudy Eckelkamp, Andy Engemann, Louis Heimann, Charles Mantle, Tom Frankenberg, Harold Brinker and Don Hahne were cited by the VFW. Hahne is not a VFW member, but plays taps at the military funerals.

Current honor guard members Joe Katzung, Joe Riegel and Honor Guard Commander Frank Rombach also were given a special appreciation.

Essay winners from area schools were honored. The Patriot’s Pen contest winner was Damon Puder, an eighth-grade student at Troy Middle School. The theme of the essay was “America’s Gift to My Generation.”

The Voice of Democracy essay contest winner was Isabella Volmert, a senior at St. Francis Borgia Regional High School. The theme was “American History — Our Hope for the Future.”

Community service awards also were presented at the ceremony. Franklin County Honor Flight was recognized.

The VFW thanked founders Jim Tayon, Dave Hall and Larry Davis and celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the program. The first flight was Nov. 3, 2007, and more than 1,700 veterans have made the trip since then.

Air Evac 13 and ARCH 6 Units, based out of Sullivan, were supposed to be recognized for their community service but were unable to attend the ceremony because of the weather.

Service Awards

Service awards also were handed out to longtime members of the auxiliary and VFW. Many of the recipients were not in attendance at the ceremony.

Auxiliary 15-year service awards were given to Diane Harting, Glenna King, Chavalla Kriete, Barb Overmark and Lindy Wood. Service awards for 20 years were given to Myrtle Broeker and Anna Glamann.

A 25-year award was given to Florentine Wunderlich. Mary Ann Emke and Rose Mary Wessel received 30-year awards.

Janis Emke, 35 years, and Lori Aholt, Rose Coulter and Betty Curran, 40 years, also were recognized.

The VFW recognized Gilbert Broeker, Timothy Brown and Thomas Epple as 20-year members. Wilbert Deppermann, Larry Frick and Dale Heining received 30-year recognition.

Lynn Dorrell, 35 years, and John Gadcke, 55 years, also were recognized.