Bloomingburg will honor veterans with a Memorial Dedication Ceremony on July 30 during the village’s annual Community Day.
The Bloomingburg Community Day Committee, with financial help thanks to grants from Fayette County Travel & Tourism and donations, recently received a Veterans Memorial for the Bloomingburg Town Hall lawn. The desire to honor veterans is something the committee has said they wanted to do for awhile, but just now has been able to complete that goal. To commemorate the occasion and to honor those who have fought for our country, the committee will be holding a dedication ceremony at 1 p.m. July 30.
This ceremony will include a presentation by the committee and other residents of Bloomingburg, and will feature the stories of a few residents who served in the military. The story of Corporal Henry Casey and John Wrobbel will be told by Robert Grim, who will also detail his own distinguished history and service.
Casey, the son of George and Catherine Casey, was born on Dec. 28, 1837 in New Geneva, Fayette County, Pa. He had five brothers and five sisters and moved to Marion Township here in November of 1860. He married and had nine children. According to his enlistment form, he was five feet eight inches tall with light complexion, hazel eyes and dark hair. He enlisted in Company C, 20th Ohio Volunteer Infantry in September of 1861 when he was 23-years-old. He was appointed corporal in January of 1865 and was discharged in July of the same year.
He was awarded the Medal of Honor on Sept. 17, 1897 for “Most distinguished gallantry at Vicksburg, Miss., on April 22, 1863, in volunteering and serving as one of the crew of a transport that was under very heavy fire in passing the forts at that place.” He was a Republican and served from 1873 until his death on May 9, 1919, as treasurer of Bloomingburg Lodge No. 449 Free and Accepted Masons of Ohio. He died at his home near Bloomingburg at the age of 81 and is buried beside his wife at the Bloomingburg Cemetery.
“Casey had a farm outside of Bloomingburg in Marion Township,” Grim said. “He was the treasurer at the Bloomingburg Masonic Lodge from the 1870’s until he died in 1919. He was very active in the community. He has a lot of relatives that lived in this area. I came across a relative of his out in California, which is where I found out about his medal, because the relative said he has his old desk. The medal had been loaned to a museum in Washington state.”
Wrobbel was discharged from the 166th Infantry Division of the American Expeditionary Force following World War I. After the war, he looked for a community where he could establish a business in which the entire family could work. Finally choosing Bloomingburg, he founded the Golden Loaf Bakery in 1920. Born in Germany in 1875, he came to the U.S. young and in 1900 married Alma Hering and had five children. Wrobbel, a veteran of the Spanish-American War, was cited for bravery at San Juan Hill. He also received the Distinguished Service Cross for valiant service under fire while in charge of the field kitchen of the Rainbow Division during WWI.
In a letter to his family he wrote, “I am feeling remarkably well considering what I have been thru over here. I have been at the very front and have been the only cook to do it. The fronts I have been on are as follows: Lorraine, Champagne (the dutch blew up a kitchen for me on this front) second battle of the Marne and also at the advance by the Americans at St. Mihiel.” Wrobbel died in 1941 after making one of the largest small-town bakeries in the country with about 25 employees distributing its products within a 40-mile radius.
“After World War I was over, Wrobbel moved with his family to Bloomingburg,” Grim said. “The house that he lived in is still there and his granddaughter lives across the street from that house. As a kid, I used to deliver the Record-Herald, and Wrobbel’s widow was still alive when I was delivering. I used to deliver papers to her house. His daughter lived in the same house the granddaughter lives in now, so I knew her and the granddaughter. They are planning on having her at the ceremony. When I was still teaching school, I had a couple of my students as part of a research project, I had them do a little research on Wrobbel. They had never heard of his Distinguished Service Medal. These students ended up getting a granite marker up by the flag pole showing that Wrobbel’s son had donated the flag pole.”
Grim was born in Madison Mills and graduated from Bloomingburg High School and earned a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Maryland and a master of education degree from Xavier University. After 34 years as an educator, Grim retired in 2001. Since, he has been a member of the Fayette County Retired Teachers Association. He received their Community Service Award from 2002 through 2005. Grim served a four-year enlistment in the United States Air Force and was assigned to the Strategic Air Command with a two-year tour of duty in Morocco, North Africa during the beginning of the Vietnam War.
Grim has received many other accommodations, including the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) Silver Good Citizenship Medal on May 21, 2003, the SAR Meritorious Service Medal on Nov. 21, 2007, the Ohio Society SAR awarded him the SAR Meritorious Service Medal on May 1, 2010, and he received the Ohio Society SAR Bronze Color Guard Medal on Nov. 21, 2007. As well as the numerous teaching awards, Grim has led many groups, including the Henry Casey Camp 92 Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, the Ohio Department Son of Union Veterans of the Civil War, the Central Region Association of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and was the National Commander-In-Chief of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.
“I am not going to say a whole lot besides that I am a member of the Veterans Hall of Fame,” Grim said. “The state of Ohio has this hall of fame, which is different than a lot of hall of fames, because the governor is required to present the award to the people selected for this. Every year they select about 20 people, 25 percent to a third of which are deceased. My first experience with the Veterans Hall of Fame is being a member of the Society of the War of 1812. We had nominated a former governor, who served in the War of 1812, and as president I went to receive his award since he had no family around. The following year, unbeknownst to me a few members of the Henry Casey Camp who went with me had nominated me for the hall of fame.”
This is but a brief explanation of the many accolades, achievements, awards and recognitions obtained by these three men.
The speaker for the ceremony will be former Democratic member of the Ohio House of Representatives, who represented the 85th district from 2009-2010, Raymond A. Pryor. The Ross County native is a graduate of Ohio University in Chillicothe and majored in business management technology. He served six years in the U.S. Navy. Pryor worked for the Ohio Bureau of Employment Services for 25 years as a veteran’s representative and veterans licensing coordinator. During his tenure, he helped develop a state licensing and certification program for Ohio veterans hailed as a national model.
In 2006, Pryor ran for the Ohio House of Representatives against John M Schlichter, but lost by a very slim margin. He faced Schlichter again in 2008 and won. However, in 2010, Pryor again lost, this time to Bob Peterson. Pryor lives in Chillicothe with his wife Jennifer. His son, Nicholas, is a sixth grade teacher, and his daughter, Leslie Smith, is a special needs preschool teacher.
The community is invited to attend the Memorial Dedication Ceremony. Grim, along with the Community Day Committee, said they hope to see residents joining them.
Residents are also encouraged to enjoy the fifth-annual Bloomingburg Community Day, which will be held from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the town hall on July 30. With activities such as a bouncy house, sack races, kids cornhole, a silent auction, a 50/50 raffle, karaoke, face painting, a dunk tank and much more, there is something for the whole family to enjoy.
A car show will also be held, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a $10 entry fee and awards being granted at 2 p.m. Goody bags will be given to the first 25 entries, 18 car and truck trophies will be awarded, three motorcycle trophies will be awarded and many door prizes will be given away. This event is sponsored by Advance Auto Parts, Auto Zone, Ben Stage Metal Roofing, Bloomingburg Spring & Wire, Carroll Halliday Ford, CJ Pony Parts & Performance, Doug Marine Motors, Green & Sons, Gusweiler GM & Toyota, Hazelwood Painting and O’Reilly’s.
Robert Grim provided information for this article.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy