Focus on Fostoria - Nov_26_03

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Fostoria Focus - November 26, 2003

Frank Kraske Honored as Seneca County Veteran Of the Year
By Leonard Skonecki
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Rain or snow, heat or cold, good weather or bad, the Fostoria United Veterans color guard and firing squad provides military honors at the funerals of local veterans.

Frank Kraske, Fostoria United Veterans commander, has been selected as the 2003 Seneca County Veteran of the Year by the Seneca County Veterans Service Commission.

Frank is a member of the American Legion Post 73, the Amvets Post 69 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 421. He is a past officer of the Legion and volunteers his time for many activities at Fostoria's veterans posts.

David Young, chairman of the Seneca County Veterans Service Commission, said, "This year's honoree knows charity. He gives of himself, never asking for any recognition. He takes on a responsibility that takes of his time and has given, and continues to give, to veterans and the community."

Frank was nominated by the Fostoria Amvets. The Veterans Service Commission present the award annually to an outstanding veteran who has been nominated by fellow veterans.

The honoree receives a plaque. The Commission adds a name plate to a separate plaque displayed at its offices.

Frank assumed the duties of commander of the Fostoria United Veterans following his retirement from Honeywell in 1996 where he was a machine operator. Frank's predecessor, Jim Kuhn, was in his 80's.

"Jim Kuhn was commander. Kuhnie wanted someone to take it over. I told him I'd do it when I retired."

In addition to providing military honors at veterans' funerals, the United Veterans participate in Fostoria's Memorial and Veterans Day observances, holiday parades, the F.A.M.E. Games and other community events. Frank is responsible for purchasing the supplies - flags, jackets, shirts, gloves, etc. - that enable the Fostoria United Veterans to provide fitting honors.

Frank said, "I get lots of help on the honor guard. It's not just me. It's all the members. This is a great honor."

Frank served in the United States Army from 1962 to 1965. He was stationed in Europe as a heavy equipment operator.

When Frank was overseas, he found himself operating a 20-ton crane that just happened to have been manufactured in Findlay.

"Its kind of made me homesick when I saw something made in Findlay."

Past Veteran of the Year award recipients are Cliff Cockie, Robert Booth, Robert Miller. Mike Marley, Ralph Koerper, and Fred Carter.

The award ceremony was attended by Seneca County Commissioners Jimmy Young, Joe Shock and Tom Distel; Veterans Service Commission members David Young, David Martien, John Liefheit, Tom Evans and Jim Rochester;and by Fostoria's veterans post commanders - Art Allison, American Legion; Arnie Sayre, Vietnam Veterans of America; Bruce Nolan, VFW; and Ron Thompson, Amvets as well as Amvets District 13 First Vice Commander Norman Kinn.

Commissioner Distel read a proclamation honoring Frank for "his dedicated service to this county and its citizens."

Commanding the Fostoria United Veterans is an important responsibility. Once a veteran passes away, Frank has only a couple days to organize enough members to form the firing squad, color guard and bugler. The honor guard has participated in three dozen funerals this year.

In 1998, Frank was presiding over an appreciation luncheon for the honor guard and he explained why he devotes his efforts to the United Veterans.

"I'm a veteran doing something for a veteran," he said. "It's something we can do for the family of a veteran. It's something you don't like to do, but it's something we have to do."

And they do it very well. They are always there. They provide a tribute that honors the veteran's service and is deeply appreciated by the veteran's family.

Frank deserves this recognition for the part he plays to make that possible.