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Edward T. Kreiner Sr., chairman of the Harford County Commission on Veterans Affairs, concluded his nearly 10 years of service with the commission on March 20.

Kreiner, a retired U.S. Navy lieutenant, said he originally joined the commission so he could “help improve outreach to veterans in Harford County.”

Former County Executive James M. Harkins appointed Kreiner, a World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veteran, to the Commission on Veterans Affairs in November 1999.

In 2005, Kreiner a resident of Forest Hill, became chair of the commission.

“I didn’t ask for it,” Kreiner said. “I was asked if I would assume the position and I said I would do so if it was the will or desire of the county executive and will of the county council.”

Kreiner said one of the most visible moments for the commission was the dedication of the monument to Harford County Public Schools veterans who died in the line of service to their country. The memorial is next to the Harford County Public Schools headquarters in Bel Air.

“Seeing that dedicated, it was so well attended, the speeches were great and I was very pleased with the members of the families of the deceased veterans who were there,” Kreiner said. “They were so delighted and pleased with what happened. It gives you a feeling of accomplishment.”

Kreiner said the Harford County Board of Education and the late superintendent Jacqueline Haas wanted to honor the Harford County Public Schools students who gave their lives in service to their country.

“There was an effort brought forth very early by one of the parents of one of the deceased who wanted to name a ball field after their son,” Kreiner said, explaining there are regulations that prohibit such designations.

At one of the board of education meetings, Kreiner said he asked the board members, “How many ball fields do you have?”

“It brought home what may happen in the future,” Kreiner said. “I suggested to them that we build a universal type memorial that would be long-lasting and have dignity to it.”

Kreiner, who had previous experience with war memorials, came up with the idea of a large stone to honor the veterans. Because neither the board of education nor the county council had the money to fund the memorial, Kreiner said the commission would raise the money.

According to Kreiner, the commission raised about $20,000 and the memorial was dedicated in May 2008.

“Everybody was pleased with it,” Kreiner said. “It was a real thrill. What was most meaningful to me personally was meeting all of the family members of the deceased. That was very meaningful to me.”

Kreiner cited a recent issue with the Harford County Council as the reason for his decision to conclude his service to the commission.

During a February legislative session, the council approved the appointment of three members to the Commission on Veterans Affairs. Kreiner did not agree with the appointment of Wanda Story, the national commander of the United Female Veterans of America.

“I had an issue with the county council and I just did not feel they supported the commission and I figured, if they’re not going to do what’s been recommended to them, I can’t do anything,” Kreiner said. “I figured it’s best at this point in time to leave. The county executive [David Craig] has been absolutely superlative in working with the commission and our efforts. He has supported us and he’s just been great. The council has been reasonably great.”

Kreiner, who is also an active member of the Military Officers Association of America, is one of three veterans appointed to the Maryland General Assembly Veterans Legislative Caucus.

“I just think it’s fair to say I’ve taken great pride in being able to assist and work for the veterans in Harford County, the state of Maryland and, in some instances, our nation,” Kreiner said. “I feel we’ve accomplished a great deal.”


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