Dubois County- The annual Memorial Day Observance hosted by the Dubois County Veteran Council consisting of all Veteran Organizations of Dubois County will be held Saturday May 27th at the Veterans Monument Park located at 310 East 14th Street Huntingburg beginning at 10:00 am.  

This observance, normally held at the Dubois County Veterans Memorial at the courthouse in downtown Jasper, is being moved for the safety of the public due to the construction being done in downtown Jasper.  Everyone is invited to attend.  The Huntingburg Park and Recreation will provide portable bleachers but those in attendance are welcome to bring lawn chairs if they so desire.  Parking will be available on lot south of the Veteran’s Memorial.

The American Flag will be lowered to Half Staff by members of the Marine Corp League.  Clint Reuber, President of the Dubois County Veterans Council, will be master of ceremonies.  David Chinn, Senior Pastor of Huntingburg United Methodist and Air Force Veteran, will give an opening prayer and benediction.  Steve Schwinghamer, Mayor of Huntingburg will welcome everyone to this event in Huntingburg. 

Daryl Hensley, Chapter Service Officer of DAV #77 and American Legion Member will remember our Missing In Action with the POW/MIA Ritual and Dan Hollinden from Navy Club Ship #90 will remember Sailors who gave the ultimate sacrifice on the seas.  

Our guest speaker for this Memorial Day is Major Richard Kurzendoerfer who enlisted in the Indiana Army National Guard in April of 2002, went to Basic Training at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma in August of 2002 and graduated from Advanced Individual Training (AIT) in December of 2002.  Major’s enlisted Military Occupational Skill (MOS) was 13F (Forward Observer).  Major Kurzendoerfer returned to his Home Station (1-163 Field Artillery) in Evansville and subsequently deployed to IRAQ in February of 2003 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, one of two deployments.  Upon returning home Major Kurzendoerfer was promoted to SGT (E-5) in late 2004 and then was promoted to SSG (E-6) in late 2006.  Once again Major Kurzendoerfer was deployed to IRAQ from December of 2007 to December 2008 in support of the Global War on Terrorism.  Upon returning home Major Kurzendoerfer was promoted to Second Lieutenant (0-1) in 2009, First Lieutenant in 2011 and was promoted to Captain in 2013 and subsequently promoted to Major in 2020. Major Kurzendoerfer is the "acting" Rear Detachment Battalion Commander for 1-163FA and is scheduled to be promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in January of 2024.  

Major Kurzendoerfer is a highly decorated being the recipient of many medals and ribbons in his 21 years of service to the Indiana National Guard including the Bronze Star of which he was awarded the Bronze Star for his Second Combat tour in 2007.  Major Richard Kurzendoerfer is married to his wife Nicole and has 2 sons Gabe (16), Noah (14) and daughter Sophia (10).  Major Richard Kurzendoerfer when not serving in the “Guard” is a Financial Advisor with his Edward Jones office in Jasper.  Another passion of Major Kurzendoerfer is helping children and adults with mental disabilities as he is the President of the Board of Directors for Anderson Woods which provides a summer camp experience for children and adults with mental disabilities.

Our Veteran to be honored and remembered at this year Memorial Day Observance 2023 is Patrick J O’Keefe. Pat was born on August 12, 1948 to Roy and Mildred (Pawlak) O’Keefe.  Pat joined the Air force in 1967 during the Viet Nam war.  After his basic training in Texas, Pat was deployed to Thailand where he was a crew chief for a squadron that flew F4 and F105 aircraft. At one time, during “the Operation Rolling Thunder” he and his crew launched and recovered 70 aircraft per day.  When not launching aircraft, his duties were to repair the squadron’s aircraft and help secure a crash site if necessary.   After his Thailand tour Pat was transferred to Las Vegas, England, and Florida where he was discharged after 10 years of service.  Pat moved back to Las Vegas where he met his wife, Diana Hostetter.  

After visiting Diana’s family, Pat knew he had to make Jasper his home and became a purchasing agent for Kimball for 18 years and was the Pro Desk Supervisor for Home Depot for another 8 years before retiring due to health reasons.

Pat joined the VFW Post #673 and became an active member and served as their Quartermaster for many years until his health would not let him do the job he loved.  Pat was also a member of American Legion Post #147 and the Southern Indiana Leathernecks Detachment#931.  Pat was active in many fund-raising military activities and was the Dubois County Fund Raising Coordinator for Honor Flight of Southern Indiana of which he was a charter member.  Pat played a large role in the Honor Flight Homecoming Festivities for each flight at the Evansville airport.   

Pat enjoyed golfing, spending time with family, and was an avid Chicago Cubs and Bears fan when not serving his fellow Veterans.  Pat is survived by his wife of 39 years, Diana O’Keefe, Jasper, daughter Dawn (Kim)O’Keefe, Louisville, KY; brother Kevin (Margaret)O’Keefe, Chicago, sister-in-law Lois O’Keefe, Texas; six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, brothers-in- law David (Ann) Hostetter Jasper, Duane (Carolina) Hostetter Las Vegas and many nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews.  He is preceded in death by his parents, son Sean and brother Timothy O’Keefe. 

All Veterans who have died since last Memorial Day will be remembered and saluted by a 21 Gun Salute and Taps from an Honor Guard made up from members of the Veterans Organizations of Dubois County.  John C. Smith from the Huntingburg Volunteer Fire Department will play Amazing Grace with his bag pipes.  The p a system along with a melody of patriotic songs is being provided by Mike and Doris Klem.  

A luncheon will be provided by Huntingburg VFW Post 2366 for the family and friends of Patrick J O’Keefe and for those participating in this year’s event.  In case of inclement weather all events will take place at Huntingburg VFW Post 2366 located at 314 N Geiger Street.