KEYSER - Deadline to purchase tickets for the 2019 Keyser High School Legion of Honor banquet is Wednesday, March 27.

By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - Deadline to purchase tickets for the 2019 Keyser High School Legion of Honor banquet is Wednesday, March 27.
The Legion of Honor is sponsored by the J. Ed Kelley Society and recognizes those KHS graduates who have gone on to distinguish themselves in their post-high school careers.
The inductee this year is Lt. Col.  Jeffrey L. Fanto (United States Air Force, Retired), a 1979 graduate of KHS and the son of Merle and Lavada Fanto of the Villages, Florida, formerly of Keyser.  
Fanto graduated in 1981 from Potomac State College of West Virginia University with an Associate in Arts degree in journalism, and graduated in 1983 from the Perley Issac Reed School of Journalism at West Virginia University with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism degree.  Jeff also earned a Master of Public Administration degree from Troy University, Troy, Alabama, in 1989.
     After graduating from WVU, and with brief periods of employment in the Keyser area, he reported to Medina Annex, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, on June 14, 1985, as an officer trainee in the United States Air Force Officer Training School (OTS).  Jeff graduated from OTS on Sept. 13, 1985, and was commissioned a second lieutenant.  
     During his military career, Lt. Col. Fanto was fully qualified in five different Air Force specialties, and served in various leadership roles:  office chief, branch chief, division director and squadron commander.  His squadron, the 375th Services Squadron, was the largest at Scott Air Force Base, comprising a workforce of 570 consisting of active duty military personnel, plus a large component of civilian employees.  
He deployed to Operation Southern Watch at Dhahran Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in 1993 and to Camp As Sayliyah, Doha, State of Qatar, supporting Operation Enduring Freedom/Iraqi Freedom in 2003.  
Lt. Col. Fanto graduated from multiple professional military education schools: United States Air Force Squadron Officer School, United States Air Force Air Command and Staff College (Master’s equivalent), Armed Forces Staff College, and the United States Air Force Air War College (Master’s equivalent).  
He retired from active duty in 2006 as a lieutenant colonel with over 21 years of service to our nation.
     Upon his retirement from active duty service, the Fanto family settled in Niceville, Florida, and Jeff has pursued his civilian career. He received his basic Economic Development certification from the International Economic Development Council and worked for the Economic Development Council of Okaloosa County, Florida, in Fort Walton Beach. He then transitioned to local government work as he was employed by the Okaloosa Board of County Commissioners, also in Fort Walton Beach, in their Growth Management Department. There he managed federally-funded initiatives supporting the growth of Eglin Air Force Base as a result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) recommendations to locate new military missions at the base.
Then, in 2011, Jeff returned to federal government service as an Air Force civilian employee, first as a community planner and then in his current role as the chief, Portfolio Optimization Branch, Engineering Division, 96th Civil Engineer Group, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. In this position, Jeff’s 20 employees are responsible for the facility planning and programming of a real property design and construction portfolio exceeding $1.3 billion, as well as executing the energy management function for the largest Air Force Base in the world.  
     In his spare time, Jeff maintains his own economic development consulting company, and serves on the board of directors of the Eglin Chapter, Air Force Association, where he is a past-president, and the Eglin Chapter Air Force Association Education Foundation, that has raised over $1 million for college scholarships and collegiate academic programs at the local college.  
He also is a member of the administrative board of Destin United Methodist Church, Destin, Florida, where he and Molly are members.  
He is an avid golfer and sings in four different groups at his church, a men’s gospel quartet, an eight-person ensemble group, a praise team (contemporary worship) and the chancel choir (traditional worship).  
He also enjoys following West Virginia University football.
The Legion of Honor banquet is scheduled for Friday, March 29, at 6 p.m. at the Keyser Moose Lodge.
Tickets for the banquet are $16 for adults and $10 for children 12 years and under, and may be purchased at Queen’s Point Coffee, Reed’s Drug Store, Keyser High School, from any Kelley Society member, or by emailing
There will only be a limited number of tickets sold at the door.