2/6/2014 3:00:00 PM Family honored as 'Sagamore of the Wabash' presented to Lowell Wayne Sullivan
During his life, the late Lowell Wayne Sullivan was a fixture in the Vevay and Switzerland County community. He was also a tireless worker on behalf of veterans issues, serving on local, state, and national committees.
His passing on March 2nd, 2011, left a hole in the community; and on Friday night at the Switzerland County boys basketball game, it was time again for the community to say 'thank you' to members of his family.
Through the efforts of Vevay Town Council President Josh South and State Representative Randy Frye, Indiana Governor Mike Pence bestowed posthumously upon Lowell Wayne Sullivan the honor of being named a 'Sagamore of the Wabash' - the highest honored that a resident of Indiana can receive.
The honor came as a surprise to Lowell Wayne's wife, Rita, as she was on hand to watch grandson Ben Curran play in the varsity game. As Josh South asked for she and members of her family to come onto the court, emotions surfaced all over the gymnasium.
"I'm excited to be here tonight not only to see our Pacers in action, but also to have the privilege to be a part of what we are getting ready to do," Josh South told the crowd. "Vevay is basically known for three things: Belterra, the Swiss Wine Festival, and having individuals that have a true sense of community and truly care about each other."
Josh South continued:
"Fore those of you who don't know the Sullivan family, you have truly missed out. This family epitomizes what Vevay is all about, what a Hoosier is all about. There is one member of this family who isn't with us tonight physically, but I'm sure spiritually he is standing right next to Rita - Mr. Lowell Wayne Sullivan.
"...For those of you who were not fortunate enough to meet Mr. Sullivan, he was a man among men who not only gave service to his town, county, state, and country, but first and foremost his family. Many of us have our personal stories about Mr. Sullivan, he was a soldier, a leader, and more importantly, a friend to Vevay."
Josh South then introduced State Representative Randy Frye, who share some words.
"I did not have the honor of meeting Lowell Wayne Sullivan personally, and I wish I would have had that opportunity," Representative Frye said. "But I know from what others have told me that he was a great member of the Switzerland County community; and a great Hoosier. I am honored to be here tonight to make this presentation to his wife and his family."
After the presentation, Tye Sullivan, Lowell Wayne and Rita Sullivan's youngest son, spoke about his dad on behalf of the family.
"If my dad were here tonight, he'd tell you to do three things," Tye Sullivan said. "He tell you to do something good for someone else. He'd tell you to do something for your community; and he'd tell you to do something good for a veteran. My dad served others, he served this community, and he served veterans."
Lowell Wayne Sullivan was a very active member of the Switzerland County community; volunteering his time with youth activities; coaching sports teams; and he also served as the Jefferson Township Trustee for a term.
But it is perhaps his greatest community legacy that he served in country in battle and then returned home to serve his fellow veterans.
He fought in Vietnam with the Army, earning the Bronze Star with Device; the National Defense Service Medal; the Vietnam Service Medal; the Combat Infantryman Badge; the Sharpshooter Badge.
After his active service, he was very active in the American Legion, serving as the Department Commander for the State of Indiana for a term; as well as on various local, district, state, and national committees.
On hand on Friday night for the ceremony along with his wife, Rita, were sons Scott, Jason, and Tye, along with their families.