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Posted on: November 9, 2022

Sarpy County honors 5 local veterans and lights county facilities green

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To commemorate Veterans Day, the Sarpy County Board of Commissioners during a proclamation ceremony on Tuesday honored veterans across Sarpy County for their service. 

“As the home of more than 20,000 veterans, Sarpy County is proud to take a moment to honor those who served our country – and continue to serve our communities – so well,” said Sarpy County Board Chairman Don Kelly. “We urge everyone to pause and remember the sacrifices of those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.” 

The Board on Tuesday also announced that Sarpy County is participating in Operation Green Light for Veterans, an effort that recognizes veterans by illuminating public facilities green from Nov. 7-13. The initiative – spearheaded by National Association of Counties (NACo) and the National Association of County Veteran Service Officers (NACVSO) – is designed to raise awareness about the unique challenges veterans face and the resources available to assist them and their families. 

“Sarpy County is a special place, and our residents with military connections are valued members of our communities,” Commissioner David Klug said. “By honoring veterans across the county and lighting our Courthouse and 1102 Building green, we hope you feel our gratitude and appreciation this Veterans Day.” 

After issuing a general Veterans Day proclamation, each commissioner recognized a veteran who lives in their district and has made a valuable difference to their community and country. To learn more about each veteran, check out the video from the board meeting here.  

Teddy Hurt presented by Chairman Kelly. Hurt entered the U.S. Air Force in 1961 and separated two decades later, retiring as a Master Sergeant. During his career, Hurt served as an Air Traffic Controller and Combat Controller. He was a pioneer in the Special Operations Combat Controller career field, where he helped develop and improve training and field operations. At that time, he was his unit’s only Airman to successfully earn the distinction and title of “Combat Controller” due to the extremely rigorous and difficult training required to complete the school. Hurt trained in many Special Operations and Warfare techniques and relied on those unique skills during multiple deployments, where he served a total of 362 days, many of which were in direct combat with enemy forces. 

John Witzel presented by Commissioner Klug. Upon graduation from Louisiana Tech University in 1974, Witzel was commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force through the ROTC program. He began his career as a line navigator and instructor navigator at Grissom Air Force Base in Indiana, where he also served as a Public Affairs officer. Witzel was prepped and ready in nuclear combat alert and deployed several times overseas supporting units with their refueling and support requirements. Witzel returned to Altus, Oklahoma, in 1986 and served as flight commander. Chosen for the Wing’s Combat Operations Plans division, his most notable success was that the Commander recommended him for the SAC Commander’s “Emphasis Program.” This led to his assignment as Director of the SAC Airborne Command Post (known as Looking Glass). He was then selected in 1992 as the Deputy Commander of the Haitian Assistance Group. Witzel returned to Offutt and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after 22 years of exemplary service.  

Heather Carroll presented by Vice Chair Angi Burmeister. Carroll began her 21-year Air Force career as an Emergency Medical Technician. She served in this capacity in Active Duty in the Air Force Reserves. Carroll earned unique opportunities to serve in elite assignments like Tops in Blue, the Military Entrance Processing Station, Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility (CASF) and the Nebraska Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Enhanced Response Force Package. After Carroll’s retirement as a Master Sergeant in 2016, she pursued a career in education. She applied for a work study and was offered the opportunity to work full time in Bellevue University’s Registrar Office as an Evaluations Specialist. Today, Carroll is Bellevue University’s Manager of the Military Veterans Service Center (MVSC). 

Tom Kimmet presented by Commissioner Gary Mixan. Kimmet served in the U.S. Air Force from 1984 to 2004 as a Jet Engine Craftsman. He served during the Cold War and the Gulf War, and from 1995 to 1999 was a Flying Crew Chief for the Commander-in-Chief, Strategic Air Command. Kimmet served and deployed during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He received military awards and decorations for his service accomplishments, retiring as a Technical Sergeant. Kimmet retired from Civil Service at Offutt AFB in 2019. Kimmet is avidly involved in our community. He has volunteered as the Offutt Air Show Director of Warbirds and stunt aircraft since 1994, and he is a member of the Sarpy County Veteran Service Committee. Kimmet has also spent time volunteering in Sarpy County’s Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Chapter 47. 

Lloyd Lemke presented by Commissioner Jim Warren. After finishing high school, Lemke went to work for the FBI in a clerical position. After his time in the FBI, Lemke joined the U.S. Army. Lemke served in the Army for three years, from 1952 to 1955, during which he spent 18 months in Korea, with a couple of months operating as a gunnist during the Korean War. Lemke received the Army Commendation Medal with metal pendant, the Korean service medal with bronze star and the United Nations and National Defense service medals. He left the Army at the rank of Sergeant. Lemke was a member of Gretna's Fire Department for 28 years, becoming fire chief and eventually president. He continues to serve as an active member of VFW Post 10725 and American Legion Post 216. Lemke was selected as the Gretna American Legion Veteran of the Year in 2016.

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 Photo captions

Group photo – Each commissioner recognized a veteran who lives in their district and has made a valuable difference to their community and country. From L to R, front row: Tom Kimmet, Heather Carroll, Teddy Hurt, Lloyd Lemke and John Witzel. From L to R, back row: Commissioner Gary Mixan, Vice Chair Angi Burmeister, Chairman Don Kelly, Commissioner Jim Warren and Commissioner David Klug. 

 Courthouse photo – The Sarpy County Courthouse, located on the northeast corner of 84th Street and Highway 370, is illuminated green in honor of veterans. 

 1102 Building photo – The county's 1102 Building, southwest of 72nd Street and Cornhusker Road, is illuminated green in honor of veterans.

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