Veterans Day Service
On Veteran's Day, Southwestern Adventist University faculty, students, and alumni teamed up with the Keene Seventh-day Adventist Church to host a special veteran-themed service. Pastor Don Gibson, a Vet himself, gave the sermon. The SWAU Brass Ensemble, led by alumnus Steve Hubbard, provided the musical accompaniment. Through narration, multi-media projection, and music, the service honored all Veterans and their families. As the Brass Ensemble played the song for each service branch, Vets from that branch were invited to stand. Alumnus Devin Grady (2015) led the congregation in singing Onward Christian Soldier. Various faculty, church pastor, and SWAU's SA president Samson Sembeba, led the congregation in prayer.
The service was also the dedication for the new Keene Veterans Memorial Bell. This bell was just recently restored and then mounted on a replica Civil War cannon carriage, called a limber. Two local businessmen, and alumni, Jere (Bugger) Putnam ('57) and Yddo Ortiz ('62) worked together to restore the bell (pictured below).
The bell was originally on a steam locomotive. Then, in 1936, then SWAU maintenance director Ben Putnam mounted the bell on the college water tower. It was rung to summon students to meals and for special occassions. Bugger Putnam remembers helping his dad Ben ring the bell, celebrating the end of WW2. When the college water tower was removed over 40 years ago, Bugger Putnam retrieved the bell and stored it for these many years. Various craftsmen provided assistance in the restoration of the bell. The bell is now engraved with the words "Keene Veterans Memorial." It will be stored in its own special enclosed trailer, and will be displayed and rung for many different civic and special events. Thus the old bell has a new life as a patriotic display to honor Veterans.