By: Rebecca Miller
National Day of Prayer has been an important event in the village of Montpelier for nineteen years, with Prayer Walks, Breakfast meetings and Unity amongst the area churches being part of the picture. GayLynn Harris from House of Prayer, chairman and moderator for the event this year, said that the theme for May 2, 2019 is “Love One Another.” Those interested met at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church for breakfast at 8:30 and the Prayer Meeting at 9. Montpelier Mayor Steve Yagelski read the proclamation that his town proclaims this day to be a Day of Prayer, as do many in the United States. There was also a worship time led by several members of House of Prayer.
Each year the pastors, from the Montpelier churches, pray for seven different influences in our culture. This year there were eight pastors who covered the seven areas, with the Military being split for two to pray over. Those Seven Centers of Influence in America, as listed by the National Day of Prayer Task Force are Government, Military, Media Arts, Business, Education, Church and Family. (For more information, see nationaldayofprayer.org)
The Keynote speaker this year was chosen because of her efforts to honor the Military. Mrs. Tarry (Eicher) Fikel was welcomed to the podium with warmth as all rose and applauded. In an interview later, Fikel said that she was so touched by that. “It makes me cry,” she said, “that they stood and clapped to honor my son. It was so heartwarming!”
Fikel is a Gold Star Mom, one of hundreds of mothers who are members of American Gold Star Mothers, Inc., “a private nonprofit organization of American mothers who lost sons or daughters in service of the United States Armed Forces.” Started in 1928, the group is a support to all moms who want to join.
Fikel’s 25 year old son, Michael Paul Hodshire, was killed in 2005 by an IED (Improvised Explosive Devise) in Iraq, during Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2017, Tarry received a large postcard in the mail, which had apparently been sent to Gold Star Moms whose loved one had died since 911. She contacted her daughters to help her determine what it was for and they explained that a group was putting together a memorial and wanted a picture of her son to place on one of the towers. She was so glad that her son would be honored along with hundreds of others, and sent his picture.
Since then, Fikel decided to do all she could to get this traveling tribute brought to Williams County. She started the ball rolling by calling the couple in Omaha, who had the original idea, to find out what to do. She was told that it costs $8500 to bring it to the area, with a deposit of $2500. She was floored but told him thank you for giving her two weeks to get the deposit, hung up the phone and called Mary Oliver at Veterans Services. Twenty minutes later she called back and told him she had the deposit! Oliver had listened, loved the idea and told her to come by for the check, because due to money raised by the Veterans’ Ball, they are able to help with just this kind of thing.
Presently, there is a benefit planned for June 29, 2019 to raise the remainder of the funds. It is posted as “Remembering Our Fallen” Tribute Towers Patriotic Benefit and Run. It will be held at the Williams County Veterans Building at 875 East Main Street, Montpelier and is open to the public. The benefit will run form 1-8 p.m., rain or shine, with DJ music, a silent auction, 50/50 Drawing and food till it is gone. For those who want to ride, there is a $10 donation or $15 with a rider. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m., bikes head out at 12:30 and the last bikes can join as late as 4:00p.m. For more information, contact Williams County Veterans Office.
The actual event, which Fikel is doing in conjunction with Williams County Fair Board, Williams County Veterans Memorial and Williams County Veterans Services office, will be held at the Veterans Building on September 7-14, 2019. “Remembering Our Fallen is photographic war memorial that honors our country’s Fallen from The War on Terror (9/11/2001-Present). Unlike brick and mortar memorials, Remembering Our Fallen is designed to travel and includes both military and personal photos. Its legacy will be that these men and women will be remembered and their names will be spoken, while helping to lessen the grief of their families.”To see more information, go to patrioticproductions.org/rememberingourfallen. To get involved by making donations, checks can be made out to VFW Tribute Towers and sent to Tarry Fikel at 216 Main St., Montpelier.
Tarry shared that she is thrilled and honored to be able to bring these Tribute Towers to her hometown. She said there will be a motorcycle escort from the turnpike to the fairgrounds on September 7 in the late afternoon/early evening and she is encouraging everyone to come out and line the streets, holding little flags which will be provided, to welcome this tribute to Montpelier and to Williams County. The time of arrival will be announced closer to the date. “We purposefully want it to arrive after school so that the children can come with their parents for this memorable moment,” Fikel said.
“One last thing,” Fikel added during the later interview, “There is a movement on Facebook to pray for America every day at a certain time, like England did every day during The Blitz. I want to encourage us all to pray!”
Rebecca Miller may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org