County Fair Thanks Veterans For Their Service

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WOODSTOCK, Va. (WHSV) -- For some Valley neighbors, the Shenandoah County Fair wasn't just for the popcorn and rides.

Veterans young and old came to the fair on Thursday morning to be honored.

William Funkhouser was among them. He has a story not many people can tell, "The good Lord took me cross that beach, a dumb boy from Fishers Hill."

He was in the first wave of World War II soldiers to land on the beach in Normandy.

"I thought when they saw us coming, they were going to give up. It was a rude awakening," recalled Funkhouser.

It's a day he will never forget. "You didn't have to look in any direction long to see someone get killed," continued Funkhouser.

For his service in the war, he was specially recognized on Thursday at the fair.

Breaking Free, a non-profit group, was also honored at the fair for its help for aiding veterans with post-traumatic-stress disorder by using horses.

"I would not put a halter on her neck, for three and a half months because I was afraid I was confining her," said Tony Pestilli, a Vietnam veteran.

Brooke Hardin joined the Army National Guard when she was just 17. The Iraq War veteran was one of the first to be a part of the Breaking Free project.

"I'm the mom of a special needs kid, and we do a lot of therapy for her and I thought this was an opportunity for me to get to participate in something," said Hardin.

She said the program makes her a better mother and that it feels good to be honored.

"I think it just gives us a reminder that we're appreciated, and that people do care about us," said Hardin.

After the ceremony, the veterans were invited to stay and enjoy the fair festivities.


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