COMMUNITY GEMS: Lewisburg veteran helps other vets in the community

Ron Garnett, first row in white shirt, has been a longtime volunteer with veteran efforts in the Lewisburg community.

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Ron Garnett, first row in white shirt, has been a longtime volunteer with veteran efforts in the Lewisburg community.

There isn’t anything Ron Garnett wouldn’t do for his fellow veterans.

A Marine Corps veteran of Vietnam and the recipient of a Purple Heart, Garnett was nominated as a Dayton Daily News Community Gem by Fred Schreel of Dayton.

“I have known Ron most of my life and he gives of himself to help veterans whenever he can. He has always done this for the Lewisburg community,” Schreel wrote.

For around a half century, Garnett has put flags on veterans’ graves in both Lewisburg cemeteries with help these days from his family and friends. He also has organized the Memorial Day program at Roselawn Cemetery for more than 20 years. And, he is active in the Preble County Veterans Services Commission and volunteers with the Preble County Honor Guard year-round.

“He does this on an artificial leg for the last three years,” Schreel said of his friend, adding, “I just think that he really deserves to be recognized.”

Born in 1949, Garnett lived in the Hamilton-Oxford area until he was about age 10 when the family moved to Camden. He joined the Marine Corps following high school graduation.

“I loved Marine Corps boot camp. They thought I was nuts,” he said, noting his days growing up on the farm accustomed him to hard work.

He went to Vietnam in 1969 and was there only about a month when he was shot and injured. “I think the sniper got me. It went through my shoulder and out my back,” he recalled.

The military sent him back to the U.S. following the injury. After his service, he went to work for Parker Hannifin in Lewisburg, retiring after 36 years with the company

His service to veterans and community increased following retirement.

“When I retired in 2009. I joined the honor guard. I watched the commander. I watched the vice commander, the chaplain, what they did. Folding the flag, how to do the commands. I was interested in it. I have just enjoyed it ever since,” Garnett said.

His involvement in veterans’ affairs began shortly after his return home from Vietnam. Local resident Albert Brown got him involved in the Disabled American Veterans. He served as the DAV chapter’s commander for a dozen years and continues now as a member.

He said he also became involved in placing flags on veterans’ graves, a program that continued to grow over time. “Somebody needs to do it for the veterans,” he said. The local Boy Scouts assist with the flag placement as do family and friends.

The honor guard duties keep the volunteers busy. More honor guard units would be helpful in meeting demand, he said.

A widower for the past decade, Garnett has two daughters, Rhonda, who lives in Alaska, and Kacie who lives nearby and helps him “quite a bit.”

He was surprised to hear of his nomination for Community Gems recognition for his continued service to others.

“If I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t be doing it,” Garnett said.

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com

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