Elmore County will again honor the Veterans of the River Region on Saturday, November 11th. The 9th annual “Tribute to Veterans” event is hosted by Trinity Episcopal Church and consists of a Gallery of Honor Military memorabilia exhibit, a concert and a Veteran’s reception. The Gallery is open from 4 to 8 PM. The one-hour concert at 6:30 PM will feature local talent in a rousing performance of patriotic and familiar music to Veterans of all military conflicts and branches of service. Performing this year are: Sarah Cater, organist and pianist; The Madrigal Voices of Montgomery; Nathaniel Graham, baritone; Trinity Church piano trio (Ebba Dunn, Charlotte Henderson and Barbara Davis); Robert Glasscock, percussion; Melanie Perry, trumpet; Justin Hardin, piccolo; and guitarists Andy Hayes and Gardner Perdue. Each Veteran in attendance will be recognized with a reception following the concert and are encouraged to display their service photographs and memorabilia in the Gallery of Honor.
As is tradition, the concert will be dedicated to the memory of a Veteran from our community. This year’s concert will be dedicated to the memory of prominent Wetumpka artist and World War I Veteran, John Kelly Fitzpatrick. Mr. Fitzpatrick’s military service and artwork will be on display in the Gallery of Honor.
Wetumpka’s BSA Troop 50 Scouts will post the colors and present folded flags to two Vietnam War era Veterans: Earl Reeves, Commissioner for Elmore County, volunteered for US Army duty in 1967 while still a high school senior at Booker T. Washington in Montgomery. He trained with the 101st Airborne Rangers at Ft. Benning, GA and arrived in Vietnam in March of 1968 at the height of the conflict. His assignment was with a Recon patrol across the DMZ and on July 3, 1968 he was severely wounded by an anti-tank mine. He received the Bronze Star and was personally awarded the Purple Heart by then President Lyndon B. Johnson while recovering in Walter Reed Hospital. In 1969, Corporal Reeves was honorably discharged and returned to Elmore County where he completed an Associates degree and entered law enforcement. Commissioner Reeves was originally elected to the Elmore County Commission in 1992 and served as the Chairman from November 2008 to November 2012 when he chose to retire. He chose to run again in 2016 and was reelected for another four-year term.
Also to be honored is John C. Kelliher DVM a current resident of Lapine AL and owner of the Camellia Veterinary Hospital in Wetumpka. John entered the US Army in 1965 where he received basic infantry and flight training. From there he was deployed to Vietnam as a flight section leader in the Special Operations Group and flew medical evacuation missions. On discharge in 1969, he entered the Alabama National Guard and enrolled in Auburn University where he received his doctorate in Veterinary medicine in 1976. He served in the National Guard and Army Reserves in both Alabama and New Mexico. After a 41 year career as a U.S. Army Aviator and with 5 years of service as a Veterinary Service Officer, he retired as a Major in 2007. He received many commendations for his service including: the distinguished flying cross (4th Oak Leaf Cluster), Bronze Star, National Defense Service Metal, and Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm.
Admission to the concert and Gallery are free and the event is funded solely through business and individual contributions. If a veteran needs transportation to attend the event, please call the Trinity church to get your name and address on the transport list. For information and transportation call 334-567-7534.