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Marine appreciative of 'warm and fuzzy event'

Cary Ashby • Jun 11, 2017 at 4:00 PM

WAKEMAN — “I got all choked up.”

That was how Ross Baird, a Marine veteran, described his reaction at having several Western Reserve second-graders sing for him at his home.

The 81-year-old Wakeman man couldn’t make it to the annual veterans tribute — a musical program in its 17th year under the direction of music teacher Deb Henry that Baird always attends — on May 23. So thanks to Christy Brammer, who has known Baird for six years, she brought part of the show to his doorstep.

“They sang five songs from the assembly,” said Brammer, who is the secretary at Wakeman Congregational Church and attends church with Baird.

“I just thought it would be cool for (the students) to talk to someone and ask questions,” Brammer said about going to Baird’s home. “I just called as many people as I knew; it was last minute.”

Some of Brammer’s relatives were in the military — two in the U.S. Navy, one Marine and one in the Army.

“I can’t imagine what they go through to serve our country. It’s humbling what they do for us,” she said.

Baird served in the U.S. Marine Corps for two years in the Phillippines, Okinawa Island and Japan.

“It was between Korea and Vietnam,” said Baird, who has lived in Wakeman for 37 years. “I was amazed and grateful they came. … My wife and I were thrilled to death.”

The veteran also praised the quality program at Western.

“They always do a beautiful job. That was the first presentation I missed,” he said.

Brammer said she simply wanted to pay it forward. She coordinated having two carloads of six second-graders, two siblings and some of the parents come to Baird’s mobile home.

“I just know how much the Marines meant to him,” Brammer said. “He looks forward to (the program) every year.”

Amy Eschen, of Wakeman, reflected on the heart-warming experience. Her son, Lake, was one of the students.

“It was a warm and fuzzy event,” said Eschen, who attends church with Baird, known for giving out hugs and handshakes at church. “You could tell he was thrilled.”

The students asked Baird some questions about his time with the Marines.

“They asked him if he got to blow things up when he was in the service,” Eschen said with a laugh.

Baird shared a story about being a passenger in a vehicle and “thinking he would be lucky to make it,” she recalled. 

When Brammer approached her about going to sing for Baird, “I was like, what a great idea,” Eschen said. “It was good to do it for him.”

Lacie Green, of Wakeman, has several connections with Baird. They attend the same church and are part of the Marine Corps League in Norwalk. Her son, Ezra, sang to Baird and his wife.

Green said she could tell Baird was “just very happy” having the second-graders there.

“The kids saluted him. After they sang the Marine Corps march, he gave them a salute,” she said.

“I just think it’s important to teach your kids you appreciate (others),” said Green, who served in the Marines for four years. 

“It was a really great thing to witness,” she added. “Just a great feeling, you know.”

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