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Ninepipes museum, lodge celebrates Memorial Day

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CHARLO – Memorial Day ceremonies are being planned by the Ninepipes Museum of Early Montana and the Ninepipes Lodge and Allentown Restaurant. Members from the Veterans Honor Guard will post colors at 3 p.m. on Monday, May 26, outside the museum. This day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service also includes reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, introductions and a message, a flag fold, three volleys, taps, and the raising of the flag back to full staff.

The museum offers a complimentary tour of the museum to veterans following the ceremony. Visitors will be able to see a special exhibit honoring a local veteran, John Conko, who passed away in October 2013.  Also on display are three items crafted by Rex Cheff, Bud Cheff’s Jr.’s uncle, who served at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in California during World War II. Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the damaged USS Helena was repaired at the shipyard, and Cheff later created a bit and spurs from the ship’s scrap metal. Cheff created a knife from scrap metal from the USS Augusta, which was a Northampton-class heavy cruiser that also served occasionally as a presidential flagship. The USS Augusta had the honor of serving special duty providing the opportunity for President Roosevelt and England’s Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, a chance to talk face-to-face.

Rex Cheff has the distinct honor of being the first baby born in Ronan on November 4, 1910, one of 14 children born to Marie and Ovila Cheff. Following World War II, Cheff worked on the Hungry Horse Dam before heading east to become a chiropractor. He later lived in Spokane before returning to Montana where he died at St. Luke’s Nursing Home in Ronan on November 9, 2002. 

Allentown Restaurant is offering a free dinner to veterans from 4-6 p.m. featuring barbecued brisket, salads and desserts. The dinner is priced at $8 for non-veterans. Stuart Morton, the owner of Ninepipes Lodge, is donating all the proceeds of the dinner to the local Honor Guard chapters.

“It’s the least Donna and I can do,” Morton said, “to show our gratitude for the service our local service men and women have made to our country, as well as their on-going contributions at funerals and local events. It is an honor to be able to do something for them in return.”

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