Ottoville Girl Scout Ava Martz holds the American Flag while Korean veteran Ed Smidebush, Ottawa, tells the history of the flag and proper protocol for the flag. Smidebush was a speaker during the Veterans Day program at the Putnam County Historical Society in Kalida on Sunday - Putnam Sentinel
Ottoville Girl Scout Ava Martz holds the American Flag while Korean veteran Ed Smidebush, Ottawa, tells the history of the flag and proper protocol for the flag. Smidebush was a speaker during the Veterans Day program at the Putnam County Historical Society in Kalida on Sunday (Putnam Sentinel/Nancy Kline)

KALIDA — Two showcases featuring memorabilia from Word War I and World War II are on display in the military room at the Putnam County Historical Museum in Kalida.

Last Sunday, guests were given a tour of the new military room, following a Veterans Day program at the museum. Museum trustees wanted to give a progress report on the ongoing work in the military room.

Several months ago, the museum trustees approved dedicating the handicap room joining the museum and the house as an area to display the history of the military in Putnam County. Following this decision, the trustees have been soliciting funds from area service agencies and individuals to assist with the costs to furnish and make necessary changes to the room.

Walls have been repainted and heating has been added to the room as part of the ongoing work. Members of the museum committee have also begun the transfer of military items to the room including showcases featuring pictures, medals, and news articles about Putnam County’s past military history. Numerous pictures of troops have also been added to the walls. Walking in the room visitors also can see a fully dressed soldier, uniforms and trunks filled with military items including a gas mask.

A three-shelf high cabinet will be built to showcase uniforms that have been donated to the museum. Each uniform features a tag with the name of the person who served and when they served

“We’ve just started,” said Historical Society Vice President Janis Lentz, who is a member of the museum committee. “We have many more items to add to the room.” She told the guests a year from now the room may look different. “We may change our minds on how it will be arranged as we display the items,” Lentz said. The trustees plan to also install black-out curtains on the windows and filters for the lights to protect the uniforms and pictures from light damage.

“The trustees felt it was very important to show the historical record of our military,” said Lentz. “We want to remember the men and women who were such an important part of keeping our freedoms.”

Lentz expressed her appreciation for all the donations the museum has received to develop this room. “A lot of the work is volunteer work,” she said, “But items like adding heat, display cases and the cabinets cost money. We appreciate everyone who has supported this project.” Lentz said they are still accepting money that will be earmarked to add items to the room.

The Veterans Day program included Putnam County Veterans Service Officer Bob Kroeger telling the history of how Veterans Day came about. Korean veteran Ed Smidebush spoke on the history and protocol for the U.S. flag. He was assisted by Ottoville Girl Scout Ava Martz.

A video presentation featuring military items in the new military room concluded the program.