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Missouri Veterans Hall of Fame to induct first class of honorees

The Missouri Veterans Hall of Fame is set to hold its inaugural induction ceremony at the end of October, honoring its first class of inductees. 

Retired U.S. Airforce Major General Cassie Strom, a board member of the organization, said the group and event were meant to highlight Missourians who served their country and community — both in and out of the military. 

“The purpose of the event is to recognize the individuals in Missouri that were veterans, that had served honorably, and had continued to contribute after separating from the military into their civilian life,” Strom told The Missouri Times. “Our goal is to educate people, not only about the famous veterans like Harry Truman but about the everyday people, the people that live around us. Those people can be really impressive.”

The induction ceremony is scheduled to take place at the state Capitol on Oct. 30. 

The first class of honorees will include four veterans from across Missouri:

Harry S. Truman served in the Missouri National Guard as a captain and was federalized and deployed to France at the start of World War I. Truman went on to serve as a U.S. senator, vice president, and finally president. Truman died in 1972.

Joseph Frank, a native of Sunset Hills, served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam conflict, pivoting to public service after an injury from a land mine explosion ended his military career. Frank founded the Crestwood Memorial American Legion Post in 1979 which was later renamed in honor of his father. In 1996, he was elected national commander of the American Legion where he served a one-year term. He resides in St. Louis.

Ophelia Owens served as a Marine in Vietnam for two years before moving to St. Louis with her husband, who was also in the military. After her service overseas, Owens worked with American Legion Post 404, a post composed entirely of women. There, she volunteered as an honor guard for more than 400 military funerals in the St. Louis area. Owens died in April.

Brydon Ross, of Kennett, served in the Army Air Corps during WWII. After his military service, Ross turned to public service in his community, serving in numerous volunteer positions and working as Dunklin County’s circuit court clerk from 1946 until his death in 1984.

The Missouri Veterans’ Hall of Fame was established in 2019 by Strom and other veterans from across the state.