RICHLAND COUNTY — The Veterans Honor Bus of Richland County made it’s first trip to Washington DC. last month.
The Richland County’s first Veterans Honor Bus left Mansfield at 6 a.m. on Friday, Sept, 27 loaded with 34 Richland County veterans and 13 guardians, some who are also veterans, for a three-day trip to the nation’s capital to visit Washington variety of memorials such as Flight 93, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam Wall, Pentagon Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery.
A ceremony was held before we walked to the Vietnam Wall, each Vietnam veteran was pinned with a Vietnam 50th Anniversary pin. In return the Vietnam veterans presented the veterans who served in World War II, Korea, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Iraq and Desert Storm a Thank A Vet Challenge Coin.
After dinner Saturday evening, the veterans had a ‘mail call’ similar to what they experienced years ago while in the service. Family, friends and different groups had written notes of thanks to the veterans so each veteran received mail.
Sunday morning — on the last stop — the two World War II veterans, Jack Cowell and Russell Niebel along with Tim Cottrill (Vietnam Purple Heart recipient) and his daughter Brandy Cottrill-Cox (Iraq Purple Heart recipient) laid a wreath representing Richland County Veterans at the Ohio pillar at the World War II Memorial.
The Ashland Ohio All Ways Trans Plus Inc. bus — rather than air — provided the veterans ample time to visit while they shared stories, formed bonds and moved at a comfortable pace. It provided a way for veterans whose medical restrictions prevented them from flying to visit their memorial.
On Sunday night, the Richland County Honor Bus was escorted back to the Area Agency on Aging parking lot (Hawkins Corner) by the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Richland County Sheriff’s Office and Ontario Police Department for a big Welcome Home Veterans surprise.
Even though the hour was late and it was raining, Ontario Mayor Randy Hutchinson, Miss Ohio, Miss Ontario, Miss Apple City, Miss Maple City and Miss North Coast — along with other dignitaries, family and friends — were there to welcome all our hero’s home.
It was a wonderful trip to be remembered by all.
The Richland County Honor Bus is a nonprofit agency and has dedicated itself to making sure veterans are appreciated and are not forgotten. The free trip was made possible for these veterans because of generous donations received from the community. If you wish to donate toward next year’s trip, please mail a check payable to Richland County Honor Bus and mail to Richland County Veterans Service Commission, ATTN: Honor Bus, 597 Park Ave East, Mansfield, OH 44905. Make a notation on your check “Honor Bus veterans DC trip” or include a note.