A handful of people gathered in the Sedalia City Council Chambers on Monday afternoon to watch Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder present a Veterans Service Award to Maj. Ernest Parker of Green Ridge.

"From all over our state, when our nation called, men and women served in the Armed Forces. For many of these veterans, their service did not end when their military obligation was over. Instead, they continued to serve Missouri and our communities, giving back countless hours of community service," said Kinder. "These veteran volunteers give of their time and effort weekly to their neighbors."

Parker, a member of the 40&8 Veterans organization, was joined by State Rep. Denny Hoskins. Parker also received a VSA lapel pin from Kinder for his spirit of volunteerism.

"It's obviously a great honor. I think it's important for (retired) military to give back to their community," Parker said after the ceremony.

Parker has been a member of the 40&8 for six years, and served as correspondent (secretary) for the past four. And two years ago, he was named treasurer of the organization that takes care of the French Merci Train box car that sits on display at the Missouri State Fairgrounds.

"I spent 28 1/2 years in the Air Force and retired as a major," Parker noted. He was stationed at Whiteman AFB twice (once as enlisted and once as an officer) and finally retired in 2000 from Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska. He now lives just outside Green Ridge with his wife Susan. Parker is also a member of American Legion Post 520 in La Monte, where he serves in the honor guard for military funerals. In addition, he leads Bingo Night once a month on behalf of the Legion at the Missouri Veterans Home in Warrensburg.

In addition, Parker serves many hours with the JROTC program at Smith-Cotton High School.

Maj. Parker actually received three framed certificates during the ceremony. Kinder instituted the Veterans Service Award in 2012 as a way to recognize Missouri's hometown heroes.

This year, there were over 200 nominees for the VSA, and Parker was one of 34 who received one in 2016. He was nominated by Don Barbour, commander of Voiture 333, 40&8, and by Tom and Carolyn Miller of Green Ridge.

Randy Kirby
Randy Kirby
Randy Kirby
Randy Kirby