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Veterans’ salute planned for game

The Farmington Knights, along with the Fredericktown Black Cats, will hold a special commemorative evening for local veterans prior to the start of the varsity basketball game at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 31 at Black Knight Fieldhouse.

“Honoring our local veterans is just a small way of showing respect and acknowledgement of the sacrifices that they made to keep not only our country safe, but the life that each of us have come to know and cherish,” said Senior Master Sgt. Earnest Heflin, the Aerospace Science instructor and Air Force JROTC advisor at Farmington High School.

Helping to make this evening special for local service men and women will be the cadets from the Farmington Air Force JROTC with the Fredericktown Army JROTC joining forces.

“Our JROTC is taking the lead, and we will be providing a check-in table in the front lobby, providing an escort and will be presenting the colors before the game,” Heflin said. “We have asked the Fredericktown JROTC to provide cadets to lend us some help as well.”

Heflin is asking interested veterans to arrive at the new field house between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. and check-in at the lobby before being escorted to the hospitality room where the Farmington High School Key Club will be providing drinks and pastries as they wait for the game to start.

During the check-in process, a cadet will ask for the veteran’s name, the branch he or she served and the amount of time served. The veterans will then be escorted either to the hospitality room or to the court-side seating area reserved for all of the veterans in attendance.

Prior to the game and after the cadets present the colors and the National Anthem, the veterans in attendance will be recognized for their service. In addition, out of respect to the veterans, the players will not be introduced before the game.

Although this will be the first time a veteran recognition evening will be held at Farmington High School, it is not the first time the basketball team has seen such an event.

According to Heflin, a similar ceremony was held at Sikeston High School when the teams met up last year. One of the high school instructors at the game suggested Farmington do the same thing.

Heflin believes it is especially vital for students to honor those who have served.

“For our students to be able to dream of their future, they must first look to the past and honor those who have made this possible,” Heflin said. “This event is also for our students, faculty and even our community members to come out in force to finally put a name and a face to their neighbors, employers, family, friends and heroes who just happen to be veterans of the United States military services.

Heflin said he can see this becoming an annual event.

“I think this could easily be an annual event, but it will really depend on the turnout of our local veterans,” Heflin said. “My vision would be to do this event each year at each other’s home court. Fredericktown Army JROTC has been asked to help us, and next year, Farmington’s Air Force JROTC would be willing to go there and assist them.”

Members of the Farmington High School Air Force JROTC program are participating in a veterans' recognition ceremony at the Jan. 31 varsity boys' basketball game against Fredericktown. Local veterans are asked to arrive at the Black Knight Fieldhouse between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. A special recognition will be given to those in attendance.

Members of the Farmington High School Air Force JROTC program are participating in a veterans’ recognition ceremony at the Jan. 31 varsity boys’ basketball game against Fredericktown. Local veterans are asked to arrive at the Black Knight Fieldhouse between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. A special recognition will be given to those in attendance.

Craig Vaughn is a reporter for the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-518-3629 or cvaughn@farmingtonpressonline.com

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