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Kentucky Veterans Hall of Fame names 30 new members to be inducted next month

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

The Kentucky Veterans Hall of Fame announced a new 30-member class on Tuesday for induction next month.

The inductees include men and women who served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and, for the first time, the Coast Guard.

Gary Griesser of Florence served as emcee of the event in the Capitol Rotunda. He said the purpose of the hall of fame is to honor those Kentucky veterans who continue to give to their communities after the military service is complete.

The impetus to form the hall began seven years ago to join five other states, Griesser said.  

“That dream became a reality in the spring of 2014, when 27 veterans inducted into the inaugural class.”

Prior to the ceremondy, the Fastraxx Parachute team landed with a giant American Flag on the front steps of the Capitol. (Photo by Tom Latek)

In 2015, 25 more were inducted, 22 were in the class of 2016, and last year 23 were honored, he said.

Retired Army Brig. Gen. Benjamin F. Adams, commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Military Affairs, described some of the criteria for choosing the honorees.

“These outstanding contributions are in the areas of professional, civic, veterans advocacy and political achievements,” he said.

Adams said in addition to all service branches, the inductees came from several conflicts.  

“From World War II through Iraq and Afghanistan.  Men and women from all backgrounds, they represent a true cross-section of Kentucky’s diverse veteran population, and the very best Kentucky has to offer.”

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes told the honorees she was honored to appear before them. 

“The halls of this Capitol are never so filled with energy, with hope and with inspiration, than when you’re here.”

Grimes has backed legislation to make absentee voting easier for members of the military serving overseas, as well as a bill this year that allows the Secretary of State’s office to waive business filing fees for veterans or active military members who start new businesses in Kentucky.

Among the inductees is 98-year-old Capt. Helen Evans of Louisville, a World War II veteran and member of the Women’s Army Corps.

Prior to the announcement ceremony, the Fastrax Parachute Team landed with a giant American Flag on the front steps of the Capitol.

There are more than 300,000 military veterans in Kentucky.

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