Navy Veteran Joins Sheriff’s Department as Officials Deliver Wreaths to Starke County Cemeteries

Justice Center Warden Phill Cherry, Maintenance Director Tony Mildice, Jail Commander Nathan Caudill, Chief Detective Adam Gray, Navy Veteran Chuck Johnson and Sheriff Bill Dulin

Navy Veteran Charles “Chuck” Johnson accompanied officials from the Starke County Sheriff’s Department Friday morning as they placed wreaths on the entrances of local cemeteries to commemorate service members who made the ultimate sacrifice.

A photo of Mr. Johnson during his time in the Navy & a card acknowledging his ship’s records. He carries both items in his wallet at all times.

Johnson is one of two remaining WWII Veterans at the V.F.W Post 748 in Knox where serves as the Chaplain. He is actively involved with the alumni association for the USS Colorado BB-45, which is the ship he served on. Chuck shared that he enlisted at 17 and turned 18 aboard the ship. He was in the service from September of 1943 until March of 1946.

Jail Commander Caudill discussing his time overseas with Mr. Johnson

Once he left the military, Chuck went onto work as a railroad engineer for more than 40 years. He recently celebrated his 93rd birthday and mentioned that one of his favorite pastimes is line dancing, which is how he met his wife Sandy.

Mr. Johnson noted that bringing the wreaths to the cemeteries was a great way to show respect for the veterans who sacrificed it all for this country.

F.A.R.M Program trustees working on wreaths

The wreaths were delivered to cemeteries all over the county. The officials behind the initiative were Sheriff Bill Dulin, Justice Center Warden Phill Cherry, Jail Commander Nathan Caudill, Maintenance Director Tony Mildice and Chief Detective Adam Gray.

The Veterans Day wreaths were created by trustees in the Justice Center Fostering A Recovery Mentality (F.A.R.M.) Program.

They utilized branches and pine cones from the trees that line the property at the facility. The flags that were affixed in the center of the wreaths were donated by the Knox V.F.W and American Legions.

Justice Center Staff and F.A.R.M Program Trustees

Jail Commander Caudill said the inmates were shown an online tutorial about how to properly fold the flags and they spent a great deal of time carefully folding each and every one.

Sheriff Dulin shared that the flags will be collected and retired by the Knox V.F.W. after they’ve been displayed.

One of the trustees commented that the wreath project is a good extension of the F.A.R.M program since colder temperatures limit what they can do with gardening.

Another individual mentioned that he was really grateful for this opportunity to show gratitude to those who served.