Veterans honored as teammates, leaders at Carmel virtual ceremony


Retired U.S. Air Force Major Matt Modleski learned many valuable lessons during his time in the military.

“Through those 20 years, I met my best friends in life and served alongside fellow veterans on awesome teams and alongside awesome leaders,” Modleski said.

Modleski served was the keynote speaker for the Carmel Veterans Day virtual ceremony Nov. 10. Modleski, Orchard Software executive vice president of business and corporate development, is a Noblesville resident who formerly lived in Carmel. He enlisted in the Air Force when he was 17. He served three years as a jet mechanic, four years as an air traffic controller and then flew jets for 13 years, seven in the F-10 and six in the F-16. Two of those years were as a member of the USAF demonstration squad known as the Thunderbirds.

Modleski’s short speech focused on veterans as teammates and leaders.

“First as teammates, my veteran friends all share a sense of common purpose, what we call the mission,” he said. “They do that with selflessness, service before self that all people who have veteran friends have seen. Today, we honor that selflessness because it’s something we could use more of in our day-to-day existence.”

In addition, Modleski said he wanted to honor his veteran friends for their commitment to freedom and independence.

“Most have lived around the world, have seen other countries and know how blessed we are to live in the United States of America, where freedom and independence are cherished,” he said.

Modleski said many veteran friends showed leadership by starting at the bottom of that military organization and working their way up.

“Veterans have a true sense of caring for other people,” Modleski said. “Everyone has a story, and their job as leaders is to learn that story and honor it. I like to honor our veterans for their integrity. All of my veteran friends, as I think back through the years, had tremendous integrity.”

For Modleski, nothing is better than the stories shared when he gets together with veteran friends.

“We spend hours, if not days, belly laughing while sharing stories from our time in the military,” said Modleski, who encouraged viewers to ask veterans for their amusing tales.

Modleski and his wife, Dianne, have two sons, Keaton, a Purdue sophomore, and Jacob, a Guerin Catholic High School sophomore.

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Poster, essay winners announced

The Veteran’s Day ceremony honored the winners of the “Thank You for Always Being There” poster and essay contest.

The elementary school poster winners are:

  • Kindergarten: Elle McMurray, West Clay
  • First grade: Rosemary Day, Smoky Row
  • Second grade: Charlize Sullivan, Towne Meadow
  • Third grade: Austin Bryant, Towne Meadow
  • Fourth grade: Pia Anderson, Towne Meadow
  • Fifth grade: Madison Bowser, Woodbrook

The panel of judges from veterans organizations chose winning essays based on overall representation of theme, focus on veterans, strength of message and proper use of grammar.  Students were invited to record their winning essays, which were included in the virtual ceremony.

The essay winners are:

  • Sixth Grade: Alynn Davis, Clay Middle School
  • Seventh Grade: Claire Wolfgang, Clay Middle School
  • Eighth Grade: Carter Martin, Clay Middle School

Poster contest winners received $50 each and essay contest winners received $100 each, courtesy of Indiana Members Credit Union.


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