Emotional Veterans Day Ceremony Held at Hawkeye Community College
posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2019 in
WATERLOO — A Veterans Day ceremony Monday served as a proper welcome home for a Waterloo airman who suffered a rocky return from active duty during the Vietnam War.
“I had a broken jaw by three guys … so to be recognized like this, it’s really good for me. It brings a lot of emotion,” Terry Scheffert said slowly through tears. “And for me, this is my welcome home.”
Scheffert, a U.S. Air Force veteran, and Kris Jones, a U.S. Marines veteran, were awarded Quilts of Valor from members of the Hawkeye Student Veterans Association during the college’s annual Veterans Day ceremony in Tama Hall. The quilts are designed to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comfort and healing.
Scheffert served from 1967-71. He was accompanied Monday by his wife, Sandie. Scheffert is a peer recovery specialist with training in counseling services. He speaks to area churches, schools and other groups on suicide awareness and prevention. He also operates HERO, Healing at English River Outfitters, a veterans service organization.
Kris Jones, a 1985 East High School graduate, served his country from 1985-91 during the Gulf War. His son, Jaelon Jones, accepted the award with him. Jones has worked with police departments, area high schools and ROTC programs.
“He does a lot and he gets small recognition here and there, but this is one of the first public events he’s ever attended. This is really big for him because it’s so humbling for him,” the younger Jones said.
Jones also launched the monthly “Coffee & Comradarie” events in 2015 with Andy Schreiber with the theme, “No Soldier Left Behind.”
“I get phone calls in the middle of the night. … I can’t say no,” Jones said. “If something happens and I never answered that call, I feel that much worse. I want to get them quality help, they put their lives on the line.”
Both Scheffert and Jones make themselves available for veterans of all generations in need in what they consider the “first line of defense” upon returning home. They are looking for younger veterans to help continue the work they do.
“There’s a new ship coming in, and you can feel it,” Jones said. “We want to get as many in as possible to help them talk about the issues and help them navigate what’s going on so they can figure out the whole process.”
Kevin Dill, former executive director of Black Hawk County Veterans Affairs, spoke in what he said was one his last public speeches. Dill, who served in the U.S. Marines from 1983-94, has been diagnosed with a form of Alzheimer’s disease.
In an emotional keynote speech, Dill expressed how he misses his job serving veterans of the Cedar Valley. He explained the motivation behind each veteran is love.
“Love is not an easy feeling to put into words, but love is what this is all about,” he said. “Love for our nation, our brothers and sisters in uniform and our love for you.”
He discussed the ultimate sacrifice given by fallen soldiers and said, “We should never forget what they chose to do for us.”
Dill served on embassy guard duty around the world and was an Arabic linguist translator during the Gulf War. His time also included responsibilities on presidential and special detail as well as contract security in the Middle East in 2007 during the Gulf War.
Hawkeye Veterans Service Coordinator Robin Knight welcomed the group of nearly 50 people to the ceremony with a presentation of colors by AMVETS Post 49 Honor Guard. Hawkeye President Todd Holcomb also spoke, and Kari Kaufman and Andrew Finnegan sang the national anthem and “God Bless the U.S.A.”
A 21-gun salute by the American Legion and VFW Honor Guard and a “Taps” rendition by Daniel Kleinheinz concluded the ceremony.
“It’s a good reminder to all of us that we wouldn’t be able to live our lives we’re living without them,” Finnegan said. “It’s an honor to sing here for this.”
Volunteers are always needed for various events. For more information, Sheffert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 231-0232, and Jones can be reached at email@example.com.
By Kristin Guess, Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier
- American Legion
- military and veterans services
- Veterans Day
- Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier