Nobody knows the importance of Veterans Day more than Kevin Scadden.
Scadden, director of the Veterans Affairs office in Union County, speaks regularly with local veterans from every branch of military and from every war dating back to World War II. (See related story on page 7A). They come into his office at the Union County Courthouse and it's his job to get eligible veterans assistance.
But, Scadden said his job is more than filling out paperwork.
"It's about listening to these veterans," Scadden said. "What's common in all of them is they've all sacrificed in serving our country. They've given their time, been away from their families to protect our nation and our freedoms, and some of them have sacrificed a lot more than their time. The best thing you can do on Veterans Day this year is to listen to a veteran, really listen, and thank them."
Scadden, a 1980 graduate of Creston High School, relates well to the veterans that come to his office and "they feel comfortable opening up" to him because he's a veteran himself.
Scadden served in the U.S. Navy from December 1982 to December 2006. He served on many ships, some of which included USS Independence (CV-62), USS Long Beach (CGN-9), USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) and USS Nashville (LPD-13).
Scadden served in Operation Grenada, Lebanon, Gulf War, 9/11 and Lebanon Evacuation. Scadden's position as personnel specialist in the Navy entailed responsibilities for service records for all personnel onboard the ship including pay documents, advancements, correspondence and college courses.
Scadden has been around the world visiting countries like Greece, Italy, Cebu and Spain, but he's also been to poor countries and countries whose citizens don't have the same opportunities as Americans.
"Sometimes I feel people take too much for granted here," Scadden said. "If they saw what was going on overseas, they would have a different outlook on life here in the United States. We live in one of the greatest countries in the world, where if you work hard enough you can reach whatever dream you set out to accomplish. And that freedom, came from a sacrifice of a veteran. We need to remember that. And, again, we need to thank them this Veterans Day."
Creston Middle School will have a veterans program 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Monday at the middle school gym.
The program schedule includes:
• Presentation of colors by VFW Post 1797
• Parade of veterans
• Pledge of Allegiance
• What is Veterans Day?
• National Anthem performed by Cooper Bailey
• Veterans video featuring Dennis Abell and Gary Lybarger
• "Born to Die" performed by Maya Struhar
• "God Bless the U.S.A." performed by Cooper Bailey
• Folding of the American flag
• "Taps" played by Hannah Fogle