The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Front.cheers
    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
  • Front.newpaper.2
    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
  • Front.code.2
    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.gym.new
    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.library.books
    MACK DICKSON takes a book off the “blind date” cart at the Fayette library. Patrons can choose a book without knowing what’s inside other than a general category. The books are among those designated for removal so patrons can consider them gifts. In Morenci, new books and staff favorites were chosen from the stacks and must be returned. Patrons get a piece of chocolate, too, to take on their date, but no clue about their “date.” One reader said she really enjoyed her book for a few pages, but then lost interest—so typical for a blind date.

Virgil Sands takes the Honor Flight 2011.04.13

Written by David Green.

virgil_sandsBy DAVID GREEN

Sixty-six years have passed since Virgil Sands was discharged from the U.S. Navy SeaBees. He expects that gap in time might shrink a little today when he makes a visit to Washington, D.C.

Virgil is one of a few dozen Northwest Ohio veterans who will travel to the nation’s capital with Honor Flight, a non-profit organization that flies veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit war memorials.

For Virgil, 85, it’s the World War II memorial that will be of primary interest.

“I just started my senior year in high school when I went in,” Virgil said.

He left for training on Oct. 6, 1943, the day he turned 18. He had enough credits to graduate, so his mother and sister obtained his diploma the following June at Chesterfield High School.

“I was in Australia when I got my diploma,” he said.

Virgil wanted to join the regular Navy but couldn’t get in, so he signed up with the Navy SeaBees instead. He spent more than two years in the Pacific Theatre in locations such as New Guinea, the East Indies and the Philippines. He was in the Philippines when the war ended, just before he was about to move out again on a new assignment.

“I was in a good outfit,” Virgil said. “If I had to do it over, I’d go right back with that outfit. It was a good experience. Well, I guess it was.”

He said it’s one of those experiences that are worth a million dollars, but one that he wouldn’t do again for a million dollars.

sands.oldHe learned about Honor Flight from a nurse that visits him. Actually, he said, she signed him up for the program before telling him about it.

That was about two years ago and Virgil was finally chosen to participate in the flight that leaves from Toledo Express Airport early Wednesday morning.

He doesn’t know of any acquaintances who will be making the flight, but he would be delighted to run across someone from the past.

“We get to see the World War II memorial, the Vietnam Memorial and the Korean monument, and the changing of the guard,” he said.

Then it’s back to Toledo by 9:30 p.m. to wrap up a long day.

“It makes for a busy schedule,” Virgil said.

Honor Flight was conceived by a physician assistant in Springfield, Ohio. He saw several veterans in his medical office and spoke with them about visiting the memorial. Since the first flight in 2005, more than 63,000 veterans have made the trip to Washington.

At this time, priority is given to World War II vets and to terminally ill veterans of any war.

The program is funded by donations from individuals and several organizations, including the American Legion. The trips come at no cost to the honored veterans.

The trip will mark Virgil’s first visit to Washington, D.C., but he thinks that spending the day with so many veterans and viewing the memorial is going to make him feel at home.

“It will probably bring back some memories,” he said.

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