93-year-old named Butler County Veteran of the Year

Barney Landry is the Butler County Veteran of the Year. Landry graduated from West Point and was a pilot in the Air Force who flew into radioactive clouds to collect data during nuclear testing in Marshall Islands. He then became an engineer at General Electric. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Barney Landry is the Butler County Veteran of the Year. Landry graduated from West Point and was a pilot in the Air Force who flew into radioactive clouds to collect data during nuclear testing in Marshall Islands. He then became an engineer at General Electric. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

U.S. Air Force Lt. Barney Landry “stood out” among the other worthy nominees for Butler County Veteran of Year because of his five-and-a-half decades of continuous service to his country and his community.

The 93-year-old Fairfield Twp. resident will be honored twice today, first at the annual Butler County Veterans Service Commission ceremony at the Colligan Lodge in Hamilton and later when the township recognizes him as being “the most generous contributor to date for the Veterans Memorial Project.” He donated $25,500 to the memorial project, with an additional $10,000 previously matched by General Electric.

BCVSC Executive Director Mike Farmer told the Journal-News they received five nominations for the award and all were worthy but Landry was special.

“Mr. Landry stood out due to his entire life dedication from the time he went into college all the way through to today, he has always been giving and giving back to the communities which he lives in,” Farmer said. “That was kind of the tipping point I think.”

Landry was nominated by the Havelock D. Nelson American Legion Post #681 in West Chester Twp. and the recommendation says his “life story could be a book.”

ExploreFairfield Twp. veterans committee to honor one of its own at Veterans Day ceremony

The Korean War veteran was born in New Orleans in 1928, he served in the junior ROTC unit in high school and joined the Army ROTC unit while at Louisiana State University. He received a congressional appointment to West Point in 1951. He told the Journal-News the Air Force was in its infancy back then so they commissioned West Point and Naval Academy graduates with flight training.

He said he was sent to Korea after the armistice was signed so he didn’t see combat, but his job stateside was far from safe.

“I came home and they put me in atomic test group and my job was sampling atomic clouds,” Landry said. “My plane was equipped to gather radioactive material to bring home so they could decide how efficient the bombs had been. It was an experience I’ll tell you, I was in four different atomic bomb clouds and one H-bomb cloud.”

After receiving several commendations he resigned his Air Force commission in 1956 — he remained in the reserves until 1970 — and took a job as a development engineer in GE’s jet engine department where he worked for 33 years.

Landry has been a Fairfield Twp. resident for 54 years, serving decades on the zoning board, the Butler County Transportation Improvement District — a bridge in the township is named after him — the township Veterans Memorial Committee and has a host of other community and military affiliations.

“Barney is an active member of Post #681 and the community,” the post’s recommendation reads. “He continues to instill in our youth what it means to be an American and why our freedoms are so dear to us and how they must be maintained. His dedication to the community is evident in his works on the local level in Fairfield Township.”

The BCVSC ceremony will include remarks from keynote speaker U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson, a proclamation by Butler County Commissioner Don Dixon, patriotic music sung by Richard Ruby and more.

Landry said he was “surprised” to receive the honor.

“I feel like I’ve been able to be a part of the local community pretty well, that makes me feel good,” he said. “I was quite surprised my Legion post actually thought I had enough of a bio to be considered, but they seem to think it was going to be good.”

Butler Co. Veterans Day events

Here is a list of some of the events happening throughout Butler County on Veterans Day. Some events require registration so please check before attending.

8 a.m. Talawanda High School and FCCLA breakfast and program and the school, 5301 University Park Blvd., Oxford. All veterans invited; features guest speaker congressman Warren Davidson as well as music.

9 a.m.: Butler Co. Veteran Service Commission program in the Michael J. Colligan Lodge at Veterans Park on New London Road in Hamilton. The Veteran of the Year will be recognized.

11 a.m. Oxford’s Veterans Day Ceremony at Martin Luther King Jr. Park in downtown Oxford.

11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Veterans 2021 Appreciation drive-thru luncheon by Hospice of Middletown, 4418 Lewis St. Veterans and a guest will receive lunch by Two Women in a Kitchen and dessert, plus a 2021 Challenge Coin, goodie bag and a chance to win prizes. Call ahead: (513) 424-2273

11:30 a.m.: Fairfield Twp. program at Heroes Park at Millikin and Morris roads. Features guest speakers and the emcee is radio personality Jim Scott.

Noon: Veterans Day Celebration at Countryside YMCA, 1699 Deerfield Road, Lebanon. Reservations required for the event as seating is limited. Veterans, spouses and children welcome. Guest speaker an entertainer.

4 p.m.: Veterans Day Reflections at Miami University Hamilton’s Harry T. Wilks Conference Center. Event by the Student Veterans Association.

7 p.m.: Veterans Day Concert at Zion Lutheran Church-ELCA, 10 N. Breiel Blvd., Middletown. Featuring patriotic music from various groups. Free.

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