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Elections chief wants to cover wall with veterans' photos

News-Journal - 10/25/2017

Oct. 25--BUNNELL -- With Veterans Day fast approaching, the Flagler County Elections Office is saluting those who have served and those who still serve in the military.

Supervisor of Elections Kaiti Lenhart is putting out the call for photos to be added to the office's Veterans Wall, which for the past 10 years has honored vets from all eras in the office lobby.

"Calling all Flagler County service members, active duty or retired: We need your photo to fill this Veteran's Wall in time for Veterans Day," Lenhart wrote in a media release.

The wall display was initiated in 2007 by former elections supervisor Peggy Rae Border. Today, the wall has 125 photos, but there's room for more. Lenhart said Monday that once the wall is full, she will expand the display around the corner onto the connecting wall.

"I'd love to fill the office with it," she said.

Veterans whose photos adorn the wall have served in nearly every major conflict since World War II. Others have served during peacetime.

"It's a good representation that we have here," said Lenhart, "but it would be great to expand it, especially for Veterans Day."

Flagler County Veterans Services Officer David Lydon is all for it.

"I think the wall with the veterans' photos on it is excellent," he said. "I appreciate Kaiti for doing that."

To help get the word out, he said he would announce it at the county Veterans Day ceremony, planned for 10 a.m.Nov. 10 in front of the Government Services Building in Bunnell.

Beyond the expansion of the display, there is one other thing Lenhart would like to see.

"I would like to see people vote in honor of the veterans," she said.

A banner atop the display encourages voters to do just that.

The connection between the U.S. military and the mission of the elections office lies in the defense of Americans' rights, particularly the right to vote.

"They're fighting for our freedom," Lenhart said.

Another portion of the banner reads: "Home of the free because of the brave."

Any registered voter in Flagler County who has served in the U.S. armed forces may provide a four-by-six-inch service photo for display on the wall. Likewise, registered voters may also bring in service photos of family members.

For those who do not want to give up their original photo, the office can scan it into the computer, print out a copy and hang that one up.

In addition to each photo, Lenhart's office requires some information to include on the accompanying tag: the service person's name, dates of service and branch of service. Other important information would include whether the service was during wartime or peacetime, and names of ships or geographic locales where the veteran served.

Lydon described the importance of remembering veterans.

"We wouldn't get to do what we do today without those veterans who are serving today and have served in the past and allowed us to with their blood and sacrifice and time away from their families and all those things that come with military service," said Lydon. "We wouldn't have the luxury that we have to live in this country with the freedoms that we have."

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(c)2017 The News-Journal, Daytona Beach, Fla.

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