The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints held its annual program honoring Winnemucca’s veterans, law enforcement and first responders Saturday night.
Speakers included Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Allen and Winnemucca Police Chief Bill Dalley. Music was provided by the Winnemucca Civic Chorus, Michael Farr, Christine Brande and Mike Bumgartner.
Robert Conger spoke of Winnemucca’s heroes.
“And these people in uniform – police, fire fighters, first responders – they’ve got a bigger job than ever right now. They’re the ones that are putting their lives on the line every day.”
“I, for one, am pleased to have these people on our streets 27/4,” Conger continued. “These people see the worst of people’s nature, and they get very little reward, other than their salary. These people, to me, are the pure definition of heroes.”
Sheriff Allen described some of the Sheriff’s Office’s services, including emergency management. He said through emergency management and assistance from the Red Cross, the Sheriff’s Office was able to help a veteran whose house was badly flooded in February.
“It’s those kind of things that make me want to stay doing this job that I do to serve you people,” he said.
He shared that 20 veterans a day commit suicide and explained that the sheriff’s office has a crisis intervention team to help prevent that from happening in Winnemucca.
Sheriff Allen concluded, “In honor of all of our armed forces who are currently serving or have served our country, we take this moment to thank you for your service to our country.”
Conger read a piece written by Ted Nugent, entitled, “A Time to Kneel.”
Chief Dalley thanked the vets and their families. He also said that the country has changed in the way it treats veterans since Vietnam.
“The thing with Vietnam, back in the 60s and 70s, whether our vets were called upon through the draft system, or whether it was through volunteering, they served their flag and their country with honor.
“Their country didn’t serve them back when they came back. It was a disgrace, the way they were treated,” Dalley said.
He explained that today, soldiers are treated much better when they return. The country also provides services today that Vietnam vets didn’t have, he said.
Dalley shared similarities between the military and law enforcement. Soldiers and police officers both “make split-second decisions, under pressure, with as much information as is on hand.” He said their actions might be scrutinized by people who read about events without experiencing the emotions and stress involved. And it’s hard to share those kinds of experiences with people other than one’s peers, because others just can’t understand.
He said he tries to have some perspective about those he encounters on the job. “The people that we deal with on the street are typically good people. The problem is, their stress is up, too,” he said. “We don’t see people at their best, but they’re good people.”
He said Winnemucca is different in the way the residents treat the police. “We enjoy the support of the people in the community.” He said people often shake his hand and thank him for his service.
Though Winnemucca is generally safe, he said residents still need to remain aware of their surroundings. “Evil will always be striving to take that away from us. They will not prevail, but they will keep trying,” he said.
Conger recognized Skip Hamagran for the uniform displays, and Joan Munk for her help with the music. He also recognized the support of his wife.
The Winnemucca Civic Chorus sang the Salute to the Armed Forces, and Christine Brande sang “Hallelujah, Veteran’s Version” by Sailor Jerri while Conger accompanied on the guitar.
Conger explained the significance of the Fallen Soldier Battle Cross and the Missing Man table. “If someone wanted to take a knee, that would be the place to do it,” he said.
Roses were provided for those who wanted to place them on the Missing Man table for fallen comrades. A few in attendance shared stories of those they lost as they placed the roses.
Mike Bumgartner played Taps and members of the Civil Air Patrol retired the colors.
Visitors looked over the photos, uniforms and other military memorabilia on display.