Traill County’s 10th annual Blue Christmas tree observance, which honors military veterans who died in the past year, recognized the following Traill County veterans:

  • Floyd Aune, Army
  • Orlo Almlie, Guard
  • Kenneth Amundson, Army
  • Dale Bakkum, Army
  • Eugene Bengs, Army
  • Eugene Boeddeker, Navy
  • Charles Bohnsack, Guard
  • Merlin Borke, Navy
  • George Brustad, Air Force
  • Fred Doeden, Marines
  • Robert Doherty, Navy
  • Alan Ebertowski, Guard
  • Dennis Enger, Guard
  • Richard Gunderson, Guard
  • Chester Hedstrom, Army
  • Barry Jeffers, Army
  • Gene Kjos, Army
  • Louis Larson, Air Force
  • Ardell Lovejoy, Army
  • Deanna Marks, Navy
  • William McManus, Air Force and Navy
  • Mark Messner, Army
  • Hartvick Olson, Army
  • Larry Olson, Navy
  • Donald Pladson, Air Force
  • Dean Poynter, Air Force
  • Gene Rosholt, Army 
  • John Rud, Air Force
  • Donald Rygg, Army
  • Dr. Ronald Semmens, Guard
  • Ray Schlichtmann, Army
  • Dr. Jens Strand, Army
  • Rosalinda Strand, Army
  • Marvin Strande, Navy
  • Leonard Swanson, Army
  • Truman Swendseid, Navy
  • Donald Tronson, Army
  • Dan Walden, Navy

Rebecca Hodgson, Traill County’s veterans service officer, said the intention of the Blue Christmas tree observance is to honor all veterans who have passed away in Traill County in 2020. 

“However, if we have missed a name there was no intent to do so,” she added. “Please let our office know if a veteran’s name should be added and we will honor them for 2021.”

This year’s observation was postponed due to social gathering restrictions announced by the state in November.

Hodgson said current plans call for the event to be recorded and posted online, including on Facebook, so families can view the ceremony in the privacy of their homes.

In the past, family members have been given ornaments bearing the names of deceased relatives who had served their countries.

Hodgson said she still planned to send holiday ornaments to families who lost veterans this year.

Thirty-eight veterans with Traill County ties died in 2020, a number of them from COVID-19. 

By comparison, 42 veterans from Traill County passed away a year ago.

Hodgson said she’ll keep families updated on plans for the Blue Christmas tree ceremony on her office’s Facebook page (Traill County ND Veterans Service Office) and through her columns in the Hillsboro Banner and Traill County Tribune.