PLAINFIELD — Duke Energy held a celebration on Friday in honor of veterans.
“Honoring veterans and those who are active is really a part of the fabric of our company,” Duke Energy Indiana President Doug Esamann said.
The Duke Energy Foundation presented Indiana National Guard Maj. Gen. Martin Umbarger with a $10,000 check for the Guard Relief Fund, to help struggling soldiers and families of the Indiana National Guard.
Umbarger said Indiana has deployed more than 18,000 servicemen and women over the past decade, all around the world.
“We’ve been at war for over 10 years now,” Umbarger told the crowd at the ceremony. “What the Guard Relief Fund does is help those families of our young soldiers and airmen who’ve been deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, all over the world defending our freedom and, unfortunately, some of them fall on hard times. That’s why this gift is so necessary, so needed. Over 900 Indiana guardsmen have been helped with the Indiana National Guard Relief Fund.”
The Thomas Carr Howe High School reserve training corps presented the colors and led the gathering in the Pledge of Allegiance while the Plainfield High School Belles et Beaux choral program performed multiple patriotic tunes during the ceremony.
The keynote speaker for the event was Earl Henry Jr., whose father was a military dentist stationed on the USS Indianapolis, which sunk July 30, 1945. Henry Sr. was one of 880 men who died in the torpedo attack. Those who survived the attack were left in the water for four days, fighting off shark attacks and fatigue.
“It’s a story that’s been told everywhere to discuss the courage and the horrors of war,” said Ken McNamara, president of the USS Indianapolis Museum. “Around 900 got off, but the sinking happened so fast, only a few life boats were released. At sun up the next morning, the shark attacks began. Some men were lost to sharks, some died of their wounds, and some just gave up hope.