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Prairie Hills assisted living won't forget its veterans

Ottumwa Courier - 10/13/2018

Oct. 13--OTTUMWA -- Prairie Hills staff are proud of their residents, and what these senior citizens have accomplished over their long lives. Those who served in America's armed forces will receive a little extra recognition next month.

"Our Wall of Honor is to highlight Prairie Hills residents who are veterans," said Brenda Miller, marketing director at the Prairie Hills Ottumwa Assisted Living and Memory Care center, "men and women who have played a critical role in our nation's history."

The wall will have a plaque with medallions from the five branches of military service. Slogans around it will say things like, "Home of the free because of the brave." Most importantly, said Miller, will be the individual photos of all the center's veterans and a plaque under each.

Miller is hoping the wall and those photos will impact all of their families and the veterans themselves.

"But we also hope to instill in each person that these [veterans] ... are responsible for the lifestyle that we are privileged to live today."

War isn't easy on families or those who served. Soldiers often hope the people back home realize what a sacrifice troops and families make. Not because they want their pictures on a wall of honor, but so that when time comes once again to talk peace or take up arms, leaders, voters and diplomats remember that war shouldn't be the first answer to problems with nations around the world.

There are those who understand the sacrifice, said Miller.

"Ken Burns will be on hand singing the amazing song, 'God Bless The USA'. He asked me if he'd need his entire sound system," said Miller, who has planned a grand unveiling of the wall. "I wasn't sure, but then, thinking about it, I asked him if it wasn't too much trouble, could he set up the full system? Ken said 'When it comes to veterans, nothing is too much trouble.'"

Doug McAntire, chaplain of the Ottumwa VFW, will be guest speaker.

The wall will be unveiled 10 a.m.Nov. 9, a Friday, at Prairie Hills, Rochester Avenue. Everyone, from residents, staff, families, and all community members are invited.

Senior reporter Mark Newman can be contacted at


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