Dubois County Veterans Council to hold Veterans Day Observance

Veterans Day Observance of the Dubois County Veterans Council will be held on Saturday, November 6th.  Kent Schreiner, Commander of Post 124, announced activities will begin at 1 pm at the Ferdinand American Legion Post 124 at 425 Main Street. Co-hosting the event is American Legion Post 124 and VFW Post 11365 Ferdinand. Chris Knies, DCVC President, will be the master of ceremonies.  A 21 gun salute will be conducted by members of the hosting organizations followed by Taps in honor of all living and deceased members of Our Armed Forces.  The ceremony will be followed by a luncheon and refreshments.

This  year living Veteran to be recognized is Leo W. Eckerle:

Leo Eckerle, a Korean War Veteran, was inducted into the US Army on February 21, 1952. He was a member of Company F of the 32nd Infantry Regiment, one of 60,000 men he called “mudtrompers.”  According to Leo, these men lived in their uniforms, “scraping through hell, day in and day out in those dirt trenches.  The barrels of their guns would melt due to the large number of rapid rounds they fired.  Everyone in those dirt tunnels would unload round after round.”  Leo remembers showering only three times during his entire time in Korea.

As a tech sergeant, he fought not only for himself but also for his men, who greatly respected and believed in him.  His men would tell him they felt safe when he was behind a heavy-duty machine gun.  He finished up his career in the Army as a recruit trainer, telling his recruits that he knew what needed to be done because he knew the horrors that lay ahead.  These recruits whose minds and bodies Leo had pushed to the brink said they would do anything for him.  In fact, before he left them, the recruits had pooled together more than enough money for him to buy a plane ticket home.

Leo was honorably discharged from the Army on November 21, 1953.  During his time in service, he was honored with the Combat Infantry Badge, the Korean Service Medal with 2 bronze service stars, the United Nations Service Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.

Upon his return from service, Leo practiced carpentry.  He built many area homes.  In addition, he regularly volunteered his carpentry expertise to several area organizations, notably the St. Joseph Parish Center and VFW Post 673.

Leo was born on February 11, 1929, to Robert and Elizabeth Lechner Eckerle.  On September 12, 1950, he married Lora Lou Renner.  They were married 63 years and raised two adopted children, Duane and Sheila.  He has a granddaughter, Cassie, and a great-granddaughter, Kinsley.  He was one of ten children, including brothers Sylvester, Linus, Edwin, Roman, Joe, George, and Donald, and sisters Georgina Detry and Genevieve Frick.  Five of his brothers also served their country in the military.

Leo is a member of VFW Post 673 and American Legion Post 147.  He is a charter member of the Deutscherverein(German Club) and is a member of Jasper Outdoor Recreation.  Leo certainly knows his way around the dance floor as evidenced by his weekly attendance at Saturday night dances at the old VFW and at the annual Jasper Strassenfest.  He is also an avid card player.

A mass to honor all Veterans, living and deceased, will be celebrated Saturday Morning November 6that 8:00 am at St. Joseph Church Jasper.   All Veterans Post and Organizations will post their Colors at the beginning of mass.

The public is invited to attend these activities to honor our Veterans on this Veterans Day Observance.


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