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

  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • 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.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.office
    NEW OFFICES—Fayette village administrator Steve Blue speaks with tax administrator Genna Biddix at the new front desk of the village office. Village council members voted to use budgeted renovation funds targeted for the old office and instead buy the vacant bank building on the corner of Main and Fayette streets. The old office was sold to Sherwood State Bank. When everything is put into place in the spacious new village office, an open house will be scheduled. Council member David Wheeler donated all of his time needed to make changes in the bank interior to fit the Village’s needs.

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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