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Brig. Gen. William Edwards, assistant adjutant general of the Oregon National Guard, will be the guest speaker during the annual Veteran of the Year and Distinguished Veterans banquet, to be held Friday evening at the Linn County Fair & Expo Center.

The event kicks off Veterans Day activities, which also include the Veterans Day Service and Veterans Day Parade. The weekend’s theme is “A Century of Valor — WW I to Present Day."

Doors for the banquet open at 6 p.m. and the program and serving will begin at 7.

Tickets are $27.50 and may be purchased by calling 541-928-7676 or 541-981-2390. Email: albanyveteransdayparade@gmail.com.

Honored will be 100-year-old Veteran of the Year, Waife Emmett “Bud” Barnes of Lebanon.

Also to be honored will be Distinguished Veterans Steve Adams, Navy; Michael Cantrall, Marine Corps; Stephen Dahrens, Navy; Randy Eshleman, Air Force; Carl Frank, Navy; Kenneth Hern, Army; Katherine (Kat) Sanderson-Cox, Air Force; Fred Schafer, Navy; Gordon Stephens, Army; Wesley Whiting, Navy; Jim Willis, Air Force.

Entertainment will be provided by the 234th Army Band — General Discord — with 1SG Tasha Cruz singing the national anthem and service songs during a presentation of service flags with Willis.

Edwards was promoted to adjutant general in August and has a dual assignment as the deputy commanding general of the Training Support Division based at Fort Carson, Colorado.

Edwards has a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and doctorate in materials science and engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and Cornell University.

He has also attended the U.S. Army War College and completed the National Security Studies Management Course at Syracuse University.

He has earned numerous medals including the Legion of Merit and a Meritorious Service Medal.

In civilian life, Edwards is the research and development engineering project manager at H-P Inc. in Corvallis.

Memorial Service

Saturday morning, the annual Memorial Service will begin at 8:30 a.m. at Timber Linn Memorial Park in Albany.

Keynote speaker will be Maj. Gen. Michael Stencel, adjutant general of the Oregon National Guard. Also speaking will be Albany Mayor Sharon Konopa, Miss Oregon Taylor Ballard, and Willis.

Stencel is responsible for keeping 8,100 citizen-soldiers and airmen equipped and ready to respond to any emergency. He graduated from the University of Washington in 1983 with a degree in civil engineering, and went on to earn degrees in political science from the University of Washington and a master’s of business administration from Portland State University.

He has also completed numerous military training programs, including courses from the Air War College and the general and flag officer Homeland Security executive seminar at Harvard University.

He is a command fighter pilot with more than 1,900 hours of military flight time. He earned his wings at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi.

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He has earned numerous awards including the Legion of Merit, a Meritorious Service Medal and the Air Force commendation and achievement medals.

POW/MIA and Gold Star wreaths will be placed in remembrance.

“Oregon’s Own” 234th Army Band – General Discord will perform. Oregon Army National Guard Bravo Battery, 2-218 FA - 21 gun salute, and taps will be played.

Capitol Christmas Tree

The Capitol Christmas Tree harvested last Friday from the Sweet Home Ranger District will be on display at the Linn County Courthouse. Members of the public are invited to sign banners attached to its trailer as it prepares for a 3,000-mile journey to Washington, D.C.

Veterans Day Parade

More than 40,000 people are expected to line the streets of Albany to cheer on the the city's Veterans Day Parade, starting at 11 a.m. Rain or shine, more than 200 entries and 400 motorcycles will make their way from the Linn County Sheriff’s Office to downtown Albany.

“This is a simple, yet profound tradition that began so long ago to bring our veterans together and honor them in the largest way possible with standing ovations as they pass,” said Patty Louisiana of the Veterans Commemoration Association.

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Contact Linn County reporter Alex Paul at 541-812-6114.

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