By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - In a throwback to the very first J. Edward Kelley Award that was presented during a small dinner held in 1946 in a church fellowship hall in Keyser, the 75th award was presented Thursday evening in a small dinner setting at the Keyser Moose Lodge.
Recipient of the "Quarantined Edition" of the award during the program which almost didn’t happen due to the COVID-19 pandemic was Shawn Micheal See, son of James and Rhea See.
His fellow nominees, Logan Proud, son of Jeff and Tracy Proud, and Ryan Shoemaker, son of Corey and Mandy Shoemaker, were also present.
Also seated among the small group gathered for the program and dinner was the very first recipient of the award given during that inaugural dinner at St. Mary’s Hall - Robert "Bob" Dorsey.
See accepted the award by paying tribute to the man in whose name the program was established - Medal of Honor recipient and Keyser High School graduate Jonah Edward Kelley.
"Mr. Kelley was a great man with a great love for his country," See said, noting that he fought "without regard to his own life" so that his men would survive an ambush by the Germans in a town called Kesternich during World War II.
"Mineral County is very proud of Mr. Kelley," he said, adding that it is "not only important that we continue to honor Mr. Kelley, but that we honor all veterans" for their sacrifices.
Proud talked about first learning about Ed Kelley when he was in primary school, and how honored he felt to be a part of the awards program as a senior.
"I know I will never do anything as heroic as Ed Kelley, but I do plan to use my education to make a difference," he said.
Shoemaker noted that "Jonah Edward Kelley died saving other people’s lives," and called Kelley "a true hero for sacrificing his life for future generations."
John Haines Sr., longtime Moose member and retired principal at Keyser High School, served as master of ceremonies for the program, and gave a brief history of Kelley’s actions and how the awards program and Kelley Society came about.
Guests were introduced by current principal Lois Spencer, and Kelley Society president Logan DelSignore presented the nominees with their scholarships.
Stu Brandow, a veteran and member of the 78th Lightning Division in which Kelley serviced, also spoke to the crowd. At 96, Brandow of Woodbridge, New Jersey, has been attending Kelley ceremonies for many years.