Disabled Desert Storm veteran Glenn Fretz was the keynote speaker during Stella’s Memorial Day service at 10 a.m. Monday at the Stella Veteran’s Memorial.
More than 20 veterans and the general public showed up for the service.
“Today, I am remembering my Grandpa Glenn P. Morris, Sr., who served in Vietnam, I am remembering Richard Hill, who served in World War II, my other grandpa who is from Stella,” said Fretz. “I am remembering the 58,000 names on the Vietnam Wall. I rode across America last year for them.”
Fretz served in late 1990 to May 1991 in the U.S. Army during Desert Storm. He was first hurt in Desert Storm and then when he left the VA hospital in 2001 or 2002, he re-broke his neck, which left him in a wheelchair.
In 2012, he was one of several veterans who bicycled in 90 days from the Ocean Shores, Wash., to Washington, D.C., to raise money and awareness for other veterans in a journey called the Long Road Home Project. That project helps veterans and others on their long road home to recovery and transition back into civilian life.
“And during that time, we met Blue Star mothers, we met Gold Star mothers who had given their sons or daughters to America,” he said. “And we stopped in each town, we met soldiers, former soldiers, and we told them you always have hope, because every minute of every day, we are blessed to be here in America.”
He also noted that every 80 minutes, a veteran commits suicide.
In the 1980s, Fretz went to Washington, D.C., for the dedication of the Vietnam Wall. When he participated in the Long Road Home Project last year, he told those in attendance about a U.S. flag he had.
“I took a flag and it rode on my hand cycle from point ‘A’ which was Ocean Shores, Wash., to Washington, D.C.,” he said. “Well I got to Washington and I took that flag to the Wall. I said a prayer and I said ‘thank you’ to everyone of those names.”
Bill Alsop gave the invocation, "Taps" was played and also, the POW/MIA flag was hoisted, along with the U.S. flag.