GREENSBURG – North Decatur High School’s (NDHS) annual Veterans Day program honored the men and women, both local and across the country, who sacrificed of themselves to ensure the safety and freedom of their nation on Friday.

NDHS has been hosting the annual program for several years, as patriotism and the recognition of veterans are important to both staff and students. The NDHS concert band and NDHS singers, as well as numerous members of the National Honor Society worked to make the program special.

This year’s guest speaker was Patrick Nobbe, a US Navy veteran and former member of the Navy Seabees. He was invited to speak by his niece, NDHS student Kiara Nobbe. He began by asking everyone who has an immediate family member who is serving or has served to raise a hand. Next, anyone who has an aunt, uncle, or grandparent as a veteran was asked to raise their hands. Nearly every one of the hundreds of the people in the room had at least one hand raised.

“I think that’s pretty impressive for one school in one county,” Nobbe said. “Look how connected we truly are for service members being represented.”

Nobbe is a 1994 Greensburg graduate who went on to the Navy after high school, largely because of the opportunity it offered.

“My first enlistment was for five years. I figured Greensburg and Decatur County wasn’t going anywhere and I could leave for five years.”

In the time he was away from the Tree City, Nobbe was able to see, do, and build some amazing things. As a member of the Navy Seabees, Nobbe was able to use his carpentry skills and would not have to be stationed on a ship.

While interesting, Nobbe’s years in the military were not always easy. The Seabees maintain a difficult deployment schedule, with seven months deployed followed by seven months at home. The Seabees work to build and repair bases and infrastructure around the world. Nobbe himself worked to build the first containment cell at the Guantanamo Bay facility. He also tore down the stage Gloria Estefan performed on in Cuba.

Nobbe traveled the world, building and repairing along the way. After several years in the military, he chose to leave the Navy so he could start a family, and be home for them on a reliable basis. Of the eight years her served with the Seabees, he was married to his wife, Melissa, for the last five.

“My time in the military has taught me, and it has made me the man that I am today,” Nobbe said. “It taught me honor, courage, commitment, and love – a deeper love for my country, and the people who make it great. Love for my brothers and sisters in arms and a deeper love for this world, which thanks to the military, I was able to visit a large amount of.”

Bringing his speech to the close, Nobbe said, “I’m going to end with one of my favorite quotes, ‘The nation that forgets its defenders will itself be forgotton,’ Calvin Coolidge.”

Nobbe was presented with a certificate of thanks and a folded American flag, as was his employer, Decatur County REMC, for their contribution to the annual program. NDHS teacher Gary Sauley was also recognized and thanked for his efforts at honoring local veterans before every game.

Students read a variety of poems, essays, and quotes during the program, shedding light on multiple aspects of the sacrifices our defenders make, the strength and bravery with which they serve, and the love of their nation that motivates it all.

The students involved in the program were Daniel Dollinger, Drake Sefton, Gena Mack, Mandy Hasselbring, Kiara Nobbe, Kate Grote, Evan Smith, Emily Martin, Paige Howell, Lily Meyer, Sarah Bohman, Madalyn Bohman, Michaela Lawrence, Jake Hartman, Josh Nobbe, Jesse Closser, Kenzie Krieger, Andrew McCrary, Caleb Litmer, Megan Flynn, April Krieger, Cameron Callaway, Grace Vanderbut, Jacob Hartman, and Tristan Ingmire. NDHS staff members Ernest Ruble, Dana Chandler, Jacob Crossley, and Charlie McCoy were also involved in the program.

Due to limited space in the print edition of the Daily News, more photos from this event may be found online at www.greensburgdailynews.com.

Contact: Amanda Browning at 812-663-3111x7004; amanda.browning@greensburgdailynews.com