Wagner to be honored at Veterans Day ceremony

Herald file photo
Veterans Council President Keith Ingram will present the Living Veteran Award to this year’s recipient, Joseph M. Wagner during this year's Veterans Day ceremony.

From Local Sources

The Dubois County Veterans Council has a day full of activities planned for Veterans Day on Saturday, Nov. 11.

Anyone is invited to attend and participate. All of Dubois County’s veteran organizations will be represented and recognized.

The day will begin with 8 a.m. Mass at St. Joseph Church in Jasper to honor all veterans living and deceased. All veterans groups will join in the procession of posting their colors in the front of church.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2366, 314 Geiger St., Huntingburg, will host this year’s Dubois County Veterans Council observance of Veterans Day. Post Commander and Master of Ceremonies Brad Huffines said the program will begin at 2 p.m. with the posting of colors and the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance. Chaplain Jim Blemker will give the opening prayer and Steve Bartels will present the “Remembering our Missing in Actions” part of the ceremony.

Navy veteran Dr. Ryan Sherer will be the guest speaker for the program.

Veterans Council President Keith Ingram will present the Living Veteran Award to this year’s recipient, Joseph M. Wagner.

Wagner was born on May 23, 1929 in Mariah Hill and joined the Navy on Dec. 10, 1948.

He was sent to San Diego for boot camp and then attended physical therapy school in Maryland. After graduating, he was assigned to the Naval Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

After the Korean War started, Wagner was assigned duty on a ship taking troops to Korea. His ship went back and forth between Korea and Japan. While in Japan, Wagner worked as a physical therapist at a hospital for six months before being sent back to Oakland, California for discharge from the Navy on Dec. 9, 1952.

He received the Good Conduct Medal, United Nations Service Medal, and the Korean Service Medal.

After the Navy, Wagner studied at Indiana University for two years before completing his studies at St. Louis University. He was asked to come back to Jasper to set up a physical therapy unit at Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center in 1958.

In 1972, he traveled to local nursing homes as a physical therapist. He retired in 2001. During his time traveling doing physical therapy, Wagner also helped schedule the Disabled American Veterans van that helps get local veterans to Louisville and Lawrenceville, Illinois clinics and hospitals.

In 2001 Wagner became Dubois County’s veterans service officer and helped veterans with their benefits and claims they earned for their service. He continued to schedule the van and often drove it. In 2011, he retired from the service officer position.

Wagner is a past member of the Precious Blood Church Choir, Celebration Singers and The Senior Singers of the Older American Center.

He married Viola Rasche from Jasper on Dec. 26, 1955, and the couple had four children and seven grandchildren. Joe now lives at the Cathedral Health Care Center in Jasper.

Wagner was featured by The Herald in a story in 2015. You can read it here.

At the Veterans Day observance, Sergeant at Arms of VFW Post 2366 will call the color guard to attention and offer a 21-gun salute to honor all veterans living and deceased. Taps will be played to honor all deceased Veterans.

A closing prayer will be given by Blemker. VFW Post 2366 will serve lunch for all those in attendance.

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