Everyone in attendance was on their feet at the Greater Newton Area Chamber of Commerce’s 115th annual dinner and business meeting as they honored Doug Bishop with the Key Award for exceptional achievement of an individual project Thursday evening.
Newton Chamber Executive Director Darrell Sarmento opened with a joke.
“If you go to Google images, and Google his name, there are pictures of him receiving checks from people,” Sarmento said. “That is because he has championed the Jasper County Freedom Flight that gets our veterans to go back to Washington, D.C., and see their memorials as veterans of Jasper County. “
Bishop accepted his award, and acknowledged committee members involved in the Jasper County Freedom Flight. As he looked around the room, he thanked the attendees. He said that many in the room where involved in the program.
As of May 21, the program has sent 550 Jasper County veterans to Washington, D.C.
“As it happens to be, I am a firm believer that God puts you where he wants you,” Bishop said. “For some reason in 2009, I ran into an individual in Washington, D.C. That got me started, and it spread to here.”
Earlier in the day, Brad and Amy Doerring presented him with a $10,000 check for the program. He acknowledged their donation in his acceptance speech.
Bishop is a strong believer in honoring veterans.
“Jasper County is very blessed by the men and women who have served during wartime periods, and in general,” Bishop said. “We have been allowed to meet men who have been to places and done things that many of us would have not like to have seen.”
Bishop has met a lot of veterans from various wars. One served in Korea. This Korean veteran lost his friend in the middle of the night to outdoor elements. He froze to death because it was so cold. Bishop also saw many Vietnam veterans who were not properly welcomed home.
“Thank you on behalf of our committee,” Bishop said. “Thank you, Newton. This truly is a community effort, and I am very honored to have received this award tonight.”