COLERIDGE — Christian Community Service awards were presented Sunday at St. Michael’s Catholic Church.
Virgil Bayne and Dale Engelman were honored for their work on the Veteran’s Memorial in downtown Coleridge.
The awards were presented during the annual Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service. Presenting the awards were Dolores Meier and Vicky Gullicksen.
The evening program was presented by Fr. David Liewer, St. Michael’s; Rev. Gary Kimm, Congregational Church; and Pastor Russ Lambert, Immanuel Lutheran Church.
Bayne was born Feb. 28, 1926. He attended country school at Pearl Creek and graduated from Coleridge High School in 1944.
He then served in the army from 1945-47. After his time in the service, he married Velda Dooley, and the couple had five children. Bayne farmed for many years until settling into town in 1975. He worked for the Coleridge Elevator from 1968-92, then worked for Coleridge Dehy. Bayne also served as a bus driver for 14 years with Coleridge Community Schools.
For the past 24 years, he still dedicated himself to helping Gene and Jan Milander with their spring field work and fall harvest.
Bayne single-handedly sold over half of the memorial bricks for the Coleridge Veterans’ Memorial. He also spent quite a bit of time and energy collecting names and military records of those veterans.
Engelman was recognized for his “selfless donations to the design, ordering of the materials, coordination of the contractors, and overseeing the entire Coleridge Area Veterans’ Memorial project.”
Organizers said without Engelman’s devotion to the project, it probably wouldn’t have gotten completed.
The nomination letter for Engelman states that he, “spent countless hours and windshield time in completing this absolutely beautiful memorial. He also drove to many memorials around the area to get ideas of what could work and not work for the Coleridge memorial.”
He also drove all the way to Virginia to get a replica cannon, then put it on a trailer and hauled it all the way back to Coleridge.
Engelman is originally from Detroit, but has spent the last several years as a member of the Coleridge community.
He joined the U.S. Navy as a young man and went into Basic Underwater Demolition Training. When he graduated, he was assigned to Underwater Demolition Team 22 located at the Naval Amphibious Base in Little Creek, Va. During his time on active duty from 1961-68, he was deployed to multiple theatres of operations.
He also worked for Ford Motor Company in their European operations. He was heavily involved in the robotics side of the manufacturing processes.
Engelman used to come through the Coleridge area with friends for hunting season. They came here every year for quite a few years to take in the hunting and to get to know the people of the area.
When he retired, he decided to move here. He loves to hunt, fish and golf.