More than 400 people attended the 10th Annual Farm Bureau Salute to Idaho Veterans.
The two-hour event, which honors the service of U.S. military veterans, was held at the Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. of Idaho building in Pocatello Nov. 4.
FBMIC Chief Executive Officer Todd Argall said Farm Bureau is proud to hold the event each year to thank military veterans for their role in protecting the nation and its way of life.
“This is a special event for everyone at Farm Bureau because it gives us the opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to our veterans for your service to our country and for protecting the freedom and liberty of the people of the United States of America,” he told veterans who attended the event.
Veterans from every branch of the U.S. military attended the event, which is held the Friday before Veterans Day to not interfere with the events held on that day by veterans’ organizations.
“Your sacrifice and commitment to protecting the ideals of this great country are truly respected and cherished by the team members of Farm Bureau,” Argall said. “We look forward to hosting you today and recognizing your significant military service to the United States of America.”
He said there are millions of U.S. military veterans, “both in the U.S. and abroad, and to you, our veterans of the U.S. armed forces, we are eternally grateful. On behalf of the Farm Bureau family, thank you for your service to our country. We will never forget the commitment and sacrifice that you endured to protect the people of this great country.”
The Salute to Idaho Veterans event includes a flag ceremony, a guest speaker, a free veteran group photo and individual photos for each veteran, and a complimentary Salute to Idaho Veterans coin.
This year’s guest speaker was MSgt. (Ret.) Brian Eisch, who was highlighted in the Netflix/New York Times documentary, “Father Soldier Son.”
In 2010, while serving in Afghanistan, Eisch was shot three times in his legs while trying to save a wounded Afghan policeman. His wounds resulted in amputation of one of his legs.
Eisch said he was especially touched by the patriotic flag ceremony that kicked off the event.
“If the hair on the back of your neck didn’t stand up (during that ceremony), you’re not an American,” he said. “I want to thank Farm Bureau for what they did today.”
The three winners of Farm Bureau’s Veterans Day essay contest for students read their winning entries during the event.
One of the winners, Ava Paul, a fifth-grader from Kuna, has several relatives who have served in the military.
“I can’t imagine what my life would be like if thousands of people, like my family members, didn’t stand up for freedom,” Paul wrote. “I wouldn’t be able to go where I want, I couldn’t buy what I want or need. It’s crazy what I couldn’t do without freedom. That’s why I’m thankful for Veterans Day, a day to celebrate the countless veterans who risked their lives for my freedom.”