Bobby Joe Williamson: Indiana Military Hall of Fame

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Editor’s Note: last Tuesday, November 11th, a special Veterans Day program was held in the gymnasium of Switzerland County High School.

During that ceremony, Carol Ann Sublett of Vevay addressed the students and staff of the high school, along with a large group of veterans in attendance, and announced that Vevay’s own Robert J. “Bobby Joe” Williamson had been honored with inclusion in the group of inaugural inductees into the new Indiana Military Veterans Hall of Fame.

Carol Ann’s remarks to the assembly are provided here:

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Last year, a retired Army Colonel; a retired Air Force officer; and the CEO and president of the Federal Credit Union founded the Indiana Military Veterans Hall of Fame. They were quickly joined by State Representative Bartlett and the mayor of Lawrence, Indiana.

On April 25th, 2013, the Indiana House of Representatives and the Indiana Senate recognized the IMVHOF organization. Indiana follows only a handful of other states who have established similar organizations.

The purpose of the organization is to honor and provide support to Indiana military veterans and to educate others on their outstanding accomplishments. Plans are in the works to build the first physical structure for the Hall of Fame and after much discussion, Fort Benjamin Harrison was chosen as the site.

Plans are for an open, dome-like structure with an interactive computer display that will show short biographies of veterans as well as their pictures. There will be no tax dollars spent on this project. All funds will come from individual or corporate donations.

This year, 2014, marks the first induction of Hoosier veterans into the Hall of Fame. There is an application process and criteria to be met. My good friend and Army Vietnam veteran, Roger Brindley, heard of this organization through the media and suggested we nominate our common friend and classmate - Robert J. “Bobby Joe” Williamson.

That was done and the phone call came that our highly-decorated Vietnam veteran – who gave his life for us – had been accepted as one of the first group of inductees. There will be 15 inductees chosen annually but this year there were 16. The 15 had been chosen, then another application came from the family of a young man who lost his life in Afghanistan and he was also honored.

Last Friday, Roger, my friend Zy and I attended the first induction ceremony at Fort Benjamin Harrison and were so very proud and highly honored to accept a certificate and medal for our friend and fallen comrade Robert J. “Bobby Joe” Williamson. ‘BJ’ was the first Switzerland County soldier to lose his life in Vietnam.

We would like to place Bobby Joe’s certificate and medal at your school so that as we pass by it, we will forever be reminded of him and the many, many others who gave all for us. Every man and woman that has served, is serving or will serve are our heroes – be sure to thank them – and God bless them and God bless America.

– Carol Ann Sublett