The 4th Annual Leadwood Music Festival was held over the weekend and drew a large crowd. Leadwood City Park filled with spectators for the musical performances held throughout the day and into the evening.
State Representative Mike Henderson, R-Bonne Terre, presented Don “Duck” Nelson with a surprise resolution during the veteran’s ceremony Saturday morning. He read the resolution and said it is with special pleasure that the members of the Missouri House of Representatives paused to recognize the meritorious achievements of an outstanding Missourian.
“… Duck Nelson dutifully served his country in the United States Army … during which time he received the National Defense Service and Vietnam Campaign ribbons and served with the 4th Infantry Division at Pley Ku before being discharged with a rank of Sergeant,” Henderson read. “A proud member of VFW Post 5741, Duck Nelson was honored in the House Chamber of the Missouri State Capitol on March 30, 2017, in commemoration of Missouri Vietnam Veterans Day…”
Henderson went on to read the rest of the resolution and said he could go on and on about how a great person Nelson is and his outstanding family who surrounded him on the stage. Henderson said Nelson has brought a lot to the community.
“I always knew you were a productive member of this community,” Missouri Rep. Kevin Engler, R-Farmington, said. “What a great guy. I got to know Duck while I was a senator and he is involved in everything, especially with our veterans organizations. We are happy to acknowledge his achievements and honor him today.”
Mineral Area Bluegrass Association President John Hartley took center stage and said the association started the process a year ago to get Nelson recognized.
He presented Nelson with a plaque from the Mineral Area Bluegrass Association.
“We love your family, we love you and thank you so much,” Hartley said. “Here you go brother, God bless you.”
Nelson said he had no idea they were going to present him with anything and was completely taken by surprise. He said he was out there Friday night listening to the music and came out again on Saturday and still had no idea.
“I cried when I realized what was happening,” Nelson said. “My son came out and I met him here at the gate with his family and then my other daughter came down, but when I saw my daughter from St. Peters I wondered what in the world.”
Nelson said when they came home from Vietnam they didn’t receive a warm homecoming, so something like this is a great honor.
“I am proud to be a Vietnam veteran. I was when I went,” Nelson said. “All you saw on the news back then were protestors and stuff. I told my wife, what about me? My best friend Tom DeClue and I went into the Army the same day. We were in Vietnam together and we came home and we got a job and was raising families. Nobody heard about us.”
Nelson stressed it was always the ones throwing a fit and not wanting to work that drew the attention. He said he joined the Army when DeClue was drafted. They have been friends since he was four years old.
“I want to thank the bluegrass people for helping to do this,” Nelson said.
Hartley said the 4th Annual Bluegrass Festival turned out to be a great success for their organization and the weather worked with them.
“We didn’t get rained out and, in fact, our final show was on Saturday night with Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper and after they were done within 45 minutes the rain came,” Hartley said. “So it worked out this weekend for us and it was packed both nights.”
He said it was an honor to have the artists they had there performing for the crowds and they are looking forward to next year’s festival.
“I want to thank everyone who made this event possible,” Hartley said. “If it weren’t for everyone who helped, this event wouldn’t have been possible. Also the first grade West County Elementary school kids sang the National Anthem and I want to thank the people and the sponsors.”
Hartley said each year the event grows larger and larger, and they are always excited to put the festival on for the community.
In addition to live music being performed throughout the day, this year’s festival also included a carnival, hay rides, barbecue, vendors and more.
Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or firstname.lastname@example.org