Each year at the Awi Akta November Veterans Pow Wow we honor all veterans, past and current members of our United States Military Services. Our committee selects one Veteran who is recognized in a ceremony at the Pow Wow. Here are the Honored Veterans with a short bio of their military service:

Joe Lewis - Honored Veteran 2001 - Prairie Band Potawatomi

Joe Lewis felt a keen sense of patriotism for his country and served for 20 years in the National Guard.

Francis Turley - Honored Veteran 2002 - Northern Cherokee

Francis Turley enlisted in the National Guard in 1940. When the attack was made on Pearl Harbor Francis' troop was sent to California to go to the Philippine Islands. Francis was discharged in 1946

Marvin McKinney - Honored Veteran 2002 - Prairie Band Potawatomi

Marvin McKinney was a member of the Kansas National Guard in 1955. He transferred to the 66th Regiment of Military Police at Ft. Gordon, Georgia in 1956 and served for two years.

Bill Brown - Honored Veteran 2003 - Osage

Bill Brown enlisted with the US Army in 1963. He left the US Army in 1969 but re-enlisted in 1976 and stayed until 1999. 1989 - 1976 Bill was an Army Recruiter. He stated that he was proud to serve his country for 28 years in the Army.

Badger Wahwassuck - Honored Veteran 2004 - Prairie Band Potawatomi

Badger Wahwassuck served in the United States Marine Corps and was stationed in Vietnam 1968-1969. Badger is the recipient of theVietnam Cross of Gallantry, the Bronze Star, the Unit Bronze Star, and the Good Conduct Medal.

Eric W. Munson - Honored Veteran 2005 - Northern Cherokee

Eric Munson enlisted in the United States Coast Guard in 1984. He joined the United States Army in 1985 and served in Geremany and the Middle East. He is a veteran of Desert Shield, Desert Storm, and Operation Comfort. He was decorated for action in combat in Kuwait and Iraq. Eric is the recipient of two Army Commendation Medals, three Army Achievement Medals, two Good Conduct Medals, the National Defense Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal with three Bronze Campaign Stars, Humanitarian Service Medal, and both Saudi and Kuwaiti issued Kuwait Liberation Medals and the Joint Service Unit Commendation Award.

Terry Moore - Honored Veteran 2006 - Prairie Band Potawatomi

Terry Moore served in the U.S. Army from July of 1951 to March of 1960 when he was honorably discharged. He was a member of the 187th Airborne Division and served in the Korean campaign. He was wounded in 1952 and was sent to Tokyo General Hospital for recovery. Following his recovery he went back to service in Korea. He also was stationed in Europe after the war. * Combat Infantry Badge * Bronze Star * Good Conduct Medal. Terry was also rated as Expert Marksman with the M-1 Rifle.

Randy Lemmons - Honored Veteran 2007 - Northern Cherokee

Randy Lemmons enlisted in the Army in 1978 and went to basic training at Ft. Dix, New Jersey. From Ft. Dix he went to Aberdeen, Maryland, and Campbell, Kentucky, for 101st Airborne and Air Assault training. He traveled abroad to Keserslaughter, Germany, and various other duty stations. He earned the rank of Corporal and was honorably discharged in October of 1983.

Jean Anne Conklin - Honored Veteran 2008 - Iowa

Jean Anne Conklin enlisted in the Army in 1973 and went to Ft. McClelland for women's basic training. She then went to Ft. Dix, New Jersey and Ft. Benjamin Harrison, Indiana for clerical training and personnel management specialist training. Jean is currently a member of the American Legion Post 415 on the Kickapoo Reservation in Horton, Kansas. She is a member of the Color Guard.

Don Baker - Honored Veteran 2009 - Shawnee

Don Baker is a descendent of Shawnee Chief Bledsoe. He was born in Wichita, Kansas to Clayton and Thelma Whitney in 1947. He enlisted in the United States Navy and served from June 1965 to May 1969. He was Petty Officer 2nd Class upon discharge and served as Communications Electrician. After his military service he went to Central Business College in Wichita 1970-71. Don married Linda K. Baker and they have three adult children and 7 grandchildren. Don is a singer for a drum in Clay Center, Kansas and has been a Gourd Dancer for many years. He got his start under instruction from Tim Tieyah, a well known Comanche singer. He is a long time member of Shawnee County Allied Tribes and a pow wow participant. In his spare time he has been active with the Boy Scouts for 32 years, now serving as a committeeman with the Pack and Troop in Clay Center. His employment is as an electrician at the Irwin Army Hospital at Fort Riley.

Delphine L. Knoxsah - Honored Veteran 2010 - Prairie Band Potawatomi

My name is Delphine L. Knoxsah, Prairie Band Potawatomi. I was born in Mayetta, Kansas. I started school with my brothers at Marty, South Dakota. Then my parents moved us to Manhattan, Kansas, school system. I graduated from Manhattan Senior High School in May of 1958. I joined Women�s Army Corps in June 1958 for a term of 3 years so I would be able to go overseas. I took my basic at Fort McClellan, Alabama. From there I went to Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana for Finance School. After that I went back to Fort McClellan, Alabama, for Clerical School. I was then stationed at Fort Gordon, Georgia, and worked with the Signal Corps. In September of 1959 I came down on orders for Maison Forte, Orleans, France, doing clerical work for the Signal Agency. I was at Orleans for a year. Then in 1960 I got transferred to Poitiers, France. I was with the Signal Agency there also. While there I received a commendation for Action Above the Regular Call of Duty. I made my E-5 in March, 1961. I re-enlisted in July 1961 and was stationed at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. More recently I was head cook for the 20th Shawnee County Allied Tribes Lake Shawnee Traditional Pow Wow. I like going to Pow Wows and being a part of the Prairie Band Potawatomi culture. I enjoy teaching my children and grandchildren the Indian ways.

Greg Ramirez - Honored Veteran 2011

Greg Ramirez, World War II Army Veteran, Horton, Kansas: Greg was born in Horton, Kansas, on May 24, 1923. He attended Horton public schools and worked in Horton until joining the service. He was inducted into the Army on March 30, 1943. After completing training he was assigned to the 67th Signal Battalion as a trained lineman with the rank of Staff Sergeant. He served in Rhineland of Central Europer and in the Pacific Theater till the war ended, being overseas for three years. He returned to Kansas and later joined the Kansas National Guard�s 154th Field Artillery Battalion. In this service he was Section Chief in Communications with the rank of Sergeant First Class. He served in the Guards for eleven years. He worked for 32 years with a local telephone company. Greg and Evelyn have been married for 64 years and have eight children, twenty grandchildren and quite a number of great-grandchildren.

Evelyn Ramirez - Honored Veteran 2011

Evelyn Ramirez, World War 2 Navy Veteran, Horton, Kansas: Evelyn Ramirez was born in St. John, North Dakota, on January 7, 1923. She attended schools in her home town and at Catholic Missions in South Dakota. She completed commercial school at Haskell and went to work for the BIA in Horton, Kansas, in 1942. She enlisted in the Navy WAVES in January 1944. After training at USNT in the Bronx, New York, and a Navy service school in Stillwater, Oklahoma, she was assigned with the rank of Yeoman 2nd Class to the Ninth Naval District Headquarters at Great Lakes, Illinois. She later served at the Navy�s Fleet Home Town News Center in Chicago. After the war, she returned to her previous employment in Horton until her retirement.

Francis Jensen - Honored Veteran 2012 - Prairie Band Potawatomi

Francis �Hap� Jensen was raised on the Prairie Band Potawatomi Reservation and attended Miller School and Mayetta High School. He joined the United States Army in 1946 thru 1948. He was a rifleman, cook and baker with the 24th Division, 34th Infantry Regiment. He began his barbering career in 1949 and was in business for over 50 years. He was a Cub Master and Scout Master during the 1950s and 1960s in Holton and also key in beginning the first Explorer Post. He was instrumental in developing the youth baseball program in Holton. He has been involved with the Circleville Masonic Lodge for over 60 years. He is a Life Member and Chaplain of We-Ta-Se American Legion Post 410 and has served on the Color Guard and the Honor Guard. He is a Life Member of Holton Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1367 where he has held several offices including Commander. Currently he is in charge of hospital equipment for those veterans in need. He married Pauline Johnson and they have three children: Jack, Howard and Mike. Francis promotes his Native American heritage by going to schools and civic organizations to play the flutes he has made and talk about his Potawatomi heritage. He still plays the flute today for various ceremonies and weddings. Francis wrote that he �thanks Awi Akta very much for this honor and for being his friend�.

Frank Shopteese - Honored Veteran 2013 - Prairie Band Potawatomi

Frank G. Shopteese enlisted in the Army at age 17 and was trained in the artillery 105 Howitzer and then following that he was trained as a medic. He was then shipped to Korea and served 18 months in active combat. He never carried a gun. He was captured twice and released because of his being a combat medic. He saved the lives of many wounded service men from both sides of the war. He served in North & South Korea. Places that he resided were: Korea, Bannock, Thailand, and Pakistan. He helped inoculate the country of East Pakistan for cholera. He was attached to the 5th RCT Regimental Combat team as a medic. He also served as a personal medic to General Taylor and General Scheck. Frank returned home to the United States a changed person: he left a boy and returned an adult man. He came full circle � he left the Reservation a young inexperienced boy and returned and ending the same journey to the reservation as an experienced worldly man. When we asked Frank if we could honor him at this year�s Veterans Pow Wow he wrote: "I and my family are very honored that you have chosen me as your honored veteran this year for the Veterans Pow Wow. As you know there have been a great number of service men and women that have served from my tribe. I am indeed humbled that out of so many veterans your group has singled me out to be honored. Thank you so much for your act of thoughtfulness and consideration of the honored veteran."

William Schirmer - Honored Veteran 2014 - Northern Cherokee

William Schirmer writes: �I was born in Brookings, South Dakota 1951 and grew up on a farm outside Elkon, SD. I enlisted in the US Army on 29 April 1975 the Army�s 200th birthday at a special ceremony at Mount Rushmore National Monument. I went to basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and then Finance School at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana. My next first duty station was First Finance, Camp Henry Republic of Korea (Teagu, Korea) while there I was part of the quick reaction force that was activated when North Korean killed 3 American Officers and a few South Korean workers. The US showed a display of power and went in and removed the tree under the cover of air and tank support. I got there in November 1975 and left in February 1980. Fort Hood, Texas was the next stop February 1980 to February 1981 at 27th Finance and Accounting Office. It as November 1985 that DJ and I got married. Then 2nd Infantry Division, Camp Casey Republic of Korea (Pyongtek, Korea) from July 1986 to June 1987. Then to Fort Stewart, Georgia 24th Infantry Division Finance Office June 1987 to December 1988. The next stop was 188th Finance Support Unit, Republic of Panama for the end of Operation Just Cause, January 1989 to July 1991. I earned the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for combat action in Panama. On to Fort Lee, Virginia Finance and Accounting Office Fort Lee, July 1991 to June 1992. I next went to Readiness Group at Lake City, Salt Lake City, Utah July 1992 to 31 January 1996 with a Retirement date of 1 February 1996. I am still serving by working for the US Coast Guard since August 1997. Awards that I received: Army Good Conduct Metal Noncommissioned Officer�s Professional Development Ribbon Meritorious Service Medal Army Service Ribbon Army Commendation Medal Overseas Service Ribbon National Defense Medal Marksman Marksmanship Qualification Badge with Rifle Bar Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal Lastly I would like to add the following comment, we always honor the Veterans with Veterans Day but please also on that day pause and also remember the spouses of the military past and present for their commitment to the Sailors, Marines and Soldiers and to the United States of America.�

Art Norquay - Honored Veteran 2015 - Lakota

�My name is Art Norquay, I am full blood Lakota Sioux Native American My father was full blood Lakota Sioux, born in Wakapla, South Dakota. My mother was full blood Sioux and born in Fort Totten, North Dakota. I was raised by my grandmother and grandfather, Iron Bear in Fort Totten, North Dakota. I attended Indian Boarding School in Fort Totten and Wahpeton, North Dakota. In the early 1930�s & 1940�s my grandfather, Iron Bear, taught my brother and I to Fancy Dance. After his death, his good friend, Standing Chief, took us under his wing and kept us dancing. While in boarding school at Whapeton, North Dakota, I met some very good friends: Frank Shopteese, Woodrow Keekle and Floyd Westerman. In 1950, I enlisted in the United States Army and served my country for six years. I served two tours of duty in Korea which is why I wear two Eagle feathers in my hair. After my discharge in 1956 from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, I stayed in this part of the country, and have attended Powwows all over the country for many years. In the late 1950�s and early 1960�s when the Heart of America Indian Center was built in Wichita, Kansas, they called it Keeper of the Plains. I was accepted by the Kiowa Gourd Dancing Society, but due to caring for many of my sick relatives, I didn�t start Gourd Dancing earnestly until I retired from work. My Great Grandfather had only one name �Akos�. In Lakota language �Akos� means �Hanging Braids�. I have been married to my wife, Pearl, for 30 years. We have one son, Chuck, three grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren and another great-granddaughter due on November 9th, 2015. Thank you for this honor and privilege, Art Norquay.

Eldon Darnell - Honored Veteran 2016 - Potawatomie

My name is Eldon Darnell, Prairie Band Potawatomie. Eldon was born in Rosebud, South Dakota on October 16th, 1941. He has lived on and around the Potawatomie Reservation all of his life. Eldon Graduated from The Circleville High School in 1960. He joined the U.S.Army in 1960 and served through 1963. Eldon went to Korea in 1961 and was stationed on the DMZ for 13 months with the 154th Engineer Company. He came back to the U.S. in 1962 and went to Camp Drum in New York. While at Camp Drum, he taught National Guard troops to run heavy equipment. Eldon is a 35 year member of the American Legion Post 400 in North Topeka. He has owned and operated Nation Essence Tradin' Post in Mayetta, Kansas for the past 6 years. Eldon married Judy Darnell in July of 1982. He has four grown children and 3 step children. Thank you for this honor and privilege, Eldon Darnell.

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