Happy birthday, Marines!
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    Exclamation Happy birthday, Marines!

    Happy birthday, Marines!

    Staff writer

    RIPLEY - The ninth annual Ripley Marine Corps Birthday Ball held for the 233rd birthday of the United States Marine Corps honored many Marines past and present, but one particular Junior ROTC member received special recognition. Ripey-Union-Lewis-Huntington JROTC member Seth Bowman was honored for his outstanding service to the students and teachers of RULH High School when he single- handily put out a fire in the second floor restroom on Oct. 3.

    RULH Superintendent Stephen Oborn read a proclamation from the RULH Board of Education commending Bowman for his heroics. Bowman entered the restroom and found it to be on fire. He ran to the nearest classroom and notified a teacher and ensured that the fire alarm was activated. As the building was being evacuated Bowman returned to the restroom and doused the flames with a fire extinguisher, saving the building from further damage.

    “By your virtuous actions all of the students and faculty were evacuated safely,” Oborn said. “Your actions that day displayed your leadership, courage, and your willingness to place others before yourself.”

    Oborn said Bowman’s Marine Corps training and education at RULH provided him with the character necessary for his exemplary behavior on Oct. 3.

    The award ceremony was just one of the important events that took place throughout the evening. The guest speaker and guest of honor, William McHenry, cut the ceremonial birthday cake alongside Lieutenant Colonel Rick Klinker. Cake was served first to McHenry, then the oldest Cadet, Jonathan Brierly of Ripley, the youngest Cadet, Russell Hughes of Aberdeen, the oldest Marine present, Sergeant Milton Rooms of Milford who served in World War II, and the youngest Marine present, Private First Class Jerry Davis, who graduated from boot camp the week prior to the ball.

    McHenry, who worked for the Central Intelligence Agency before retiring from the Marines, spoke to the Marines, Cadets, and guests gathered about the modern day heroes. He said that while some people may look to sports stars with criminal records or politicians who have lied under oath for their inspiration, the true heroes of today are the men and women of the armed forces.

    “All of my adult life…I have served beside men and women who are prepared to die for your freedom,” McHenry said. “The Marine Corps is more than a fighting unit. It instills ethical principals that translate into a way of life.”

    McHenry said the Marine Corps is a beacon of light shinning into the darkness.

    “Tonight we celebrate not only our history, but our present; our future,” McHenry said. “Tonight we remember those who have served before us. We recognize those who are fighting this night. We rededicate ourselves to future service.”

    McHenry also recognized Congresswoman Jean Schmidt, who was in attendance. He thanked the Congresswoman for her support of the Marines.

    “We are in the midst of a nationwide financial restructuring,” McHenry said. “Right now the real battles for the Corps take place on the Hill. I just want to thank you publicly for your work.”

    The audience also had the opportunity to hear a video message from the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James T. Conway. Conway detailed the history of the War on Terror beginning with a letter from President Ronald Regan to the soldiers landing in Beirut, Lebanon in 1982. He thanked the Marines for their service and said he was proud of them both as people and as soldiers.

    After a meal served by the RULH FFA and the ceremony, everyone gathered in the high school cafetorium for the “Chicken Dance” and more music.

    The Marine Corps donated the proceeds from the dinner to the FFA and the RULH band which helped set up for the evening.


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