KEYSER - The guest speaker for the 73rd annual J. Edward Kelley Award Thursday morning spoke about the importance of community and recognizing the sacrifices so many have made so that we can enjoy that community today.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - The guest speaker for the 73rd annual J. Edward Kelley Award Thursday morning spoke about the importance of community and recognizing the sacrifices so many have made so that we can enjoy that community today.
Stanley L. Brown, retired colonel in the U.S. Air Force and currently  working as director of Weapons Removal and Abatement with the U.S. Department of State, told the crowd at the Church-McKee Arts Center that he had only been in Keyser two hours Thursday before “I felt like I was home.”
Brown said he grew up in a small town in North Carolina that is much like Keyser. Once arriving here and attending the Kelley reception at the Keyser Moose Lodge Thursday evening, he discovered he had a tie with this area of which he had been unaware - he had served in the Air Force with  Kelley Society member Dallas Adams’ son, the late Dallas Adams Jr.
“I flew with his son at Little Rock Air Force Base,” he said, and addressing the senior Adams in the audience, told him, “I can tell you that your son was an amazing man and an amazing pilot.”
Brown called Keyser and Mineral County “a proud community,” and praised area residents for continuing to honor the sacrifices made by Jonah Edward Kelley.
Kelley, he said, also knew the importance of community and displayed leadership in his everyday life.
“He also seemed to have inspired leadership and a sense of community in those around him,” he said. “He carried himself with integrity.”
Brown said Kelley, in that battle in Kesternich, Germany, in which he lost his life, “clearly saw what needed to be done and took steps” to do it.
Michael Garcia, representing Sen. Joe Manchin, and Wendy Madden, representing Congressman David McKinley, also spoke briefly to the audience.
Student speakers Jaiden Courrier, Jacob T. Rice, Emmy Stickley and Tre Dyer presented “Our Tragic Hero,” a tribute to Kelley in words and slides.
The Keyser High School Band provided music, and members of the West Virginia National Guard participated in the roll call of those KHS graduates who were lost during World War II.
John Haines, retired principal of Keyser High School who has continued to be active in the Kelley program through the Moose Lodge, presented the awards to the young men.
Clay Sprouse, president of the Kelley Society, presented the scholarship, which the three nominees voted to split among themselves.