NEW RICHMOND, Ohio — If you walk down Front Street in New Richmond on a windy day, the sounds of whipping American flags can be heard in the otherwise quiet village along the Ohio River.
"There's a rich history of veterans in this town, and we love to highlight that," said Army veteran Ty Powers.
During Powers' time in uniform, he deployed to Somalia, first with the 63rd Engineer Company out of Fort Benning, Georgia. Once in country, he rejoined his main unit the 75th Ranger Regiment, Bravo Company when they arrived on station.
His experience on the deployment has left him with memories that will last a lifetime.
"The vehicle in front of mine hit a land mine, or IED," he said. "It blew the whole front of his vehicle off, but also causes ours to roll over and flip. And then there was another one where I took a round off of my Kevlar, it hit my Kevlar."
Powers said the incident left him with traumatic brain injuries, something he continues to seek medical attention and treatment for today.
He is one of a long list of men and women of New Richmond citizens to serve in uniform. And the city's history of service can be seen on the walls of the New Richmond Military Museum of which Powers is the director.
"We put a timeline across the wall over there and every war from the American Revolution, all the way through Afghanistan now, people from the Richmond have fought in those wars," he said.
The village hosts Freedom Fest every year to pay homage to past and present veterans.
"The heritage of just military service in this community is unbelievable," said Christine McAdams, president of the New Richmond Business Association.
McAdams is also the daughter of a Vietnam War era veteran. She said the annual Freedom Fest is the least the community can do to say both thank you and welcome home.
"I think that our service men and women need to know they are appreciated. And I know my veteran father served at a time when they weren’t always appreciated," she said. "They deserve our support and our love and this is the perfect opportunity and this is really a perfect opportunity for people to come out and do it."
This year, McAdams said the village is changing things up and giving veteran-owned food vendors and crafters first dibs on the vendor slots available and doing it at no charge to the veteran.
"This year the VFW is paring with the Business Association, and they’ve done such a great job of growing this community-driven festival. We have grown to the point where we can give back," McAdams said.
The Freedom Fest is July 1-2. Veteran vendors interested in filing to be crafter or food vendors should reach out sooner rather than later.
You can find more details by heading to the Freedom Fest Facebook page.
If you have a veteran story to tell in your community, email email@example.com. You also can join the Homefront Facebook group, follow Craig McKee on Facebook and find more Homefront stories here.