In honor of all military veterans as well as those who presently serve, Fairfield?s American Legion Post 47 will sponsor its annual Veterans Day program Saturday, with the flying of the Avenue of Flags occurring the day before.
The program will begin at 10 a.m. in the Fairfield High School auditorium. Doors open to the public at 9:15 a.m. Front row seating is reserved for veterans and their families.
Sgt. 1st Class (Retired) James T. Salts will be the master of ceremonies and guest speaker for the event. The Rev. Christopher Fiske from the Word of Life Lutheran Church will give the invocation and benediction. In addition, the Rev. Fiske is a captain in the Iowa Army National Guard and is the chaplain for the 224th Brigade Engineer Battalion.
Emily (Roth) McIntyre will sing the National Anthem accompanied by the 34th Army Band Ceremonial Brass Group, who will also play a selection of patriotic music.
FHS senior Kristen Daugherty will share her experience as an attendee at the 2017 Girls State program at Iowa State University. Girls State is sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary, and focuses on instilling leadership and interpersonal skills in high school students.
Weather permitting, the Avenue of the Flags is scheduled for Friday morning. Volunteers are needed to post more than 500 flags in Central Park.
Volunteers should meet at Central Park at 7:30 a.m. Volunteers will be served a free breakfast at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2271 building on Broadway Avenue after the flags are posted. Volunteers will meet again at 1 p.m. Sunday to take the flags down. (Note: This paragraph has been modified from its original version to reflect new information)
The Elks Lodge No. 1192 is sponsoring a veterans soup and salad bar for all veterans to thank them for their service from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Friday. Free will donations will be accepted for guests/non-veterans. Reservations are appreciated but not required. An elevator is available to assist those unable to climb stairs.
For more information about the soup and salad bar, contact the Elks Lodge at 472-2171, Jim Kennedy at 472-2444 or Kim Winslow at 919-7555.
Fairfield Hy-Vee Food and Drug Store is also hosting a Veterans Day breakfast for all veterans Saturday morning.
Salts graduated from Fairfield High School with the class of 1965 and enlisted in the U.S. Army on the delayed entry program. He entered active duty in January 1967. He attended basic training in postal operations at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, then transferred to Fort Benning, Georgia.
In August of 1968, he was transferred to South Vietnam and served there for 13 months as a non-commissioned officer in charge of the postal unit in Hue, South Vietnam. He returned to the United States in September 1969 and ended his active duty at Fort Lewis, Washington, on his 22nd birthday.
Salts used the G.I. Bill to attend Indian Hills Community College and graduated from there in 1972 with an AA degree in electronic technology. He worked in that field for five years at Schaefer?s Music Box in Fairfield as a service technician. He joined the Iowa Army National Guard?s HHC 224th Engineer Battalion in 1976, and was hired fulltime as the administrative supply technician in the fall of 1977.
He later served as the battalion personnel sergeant and was deployed with the unit in January 1991 to Germany in support of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. He retired in September 2002 after completing 24 years of active duty. He has served on the Iowa Army National Guard Honors Team and has presented numerous flags to family members at funerals. He serves as the president of the Fairfield Army Corporation, is a member of the Maasdam Barn Preservation committee, and currently works part time at a local funeral home.
Salts has been married to his wife Joan for 47 years. They have one son, Joel, and five grandchildren who live in Manhattan, Kansas.