Court is in session

Vietnam vet opens proceedings for Kelbley

PHOTO BY JILL GOSCHE John Patterson of Tiffin opens court proceedings for the day in Seneca County Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Kelbley’s courtroom Wednesday morning.

It was an experience a Tiffin man said he wouldn’t forget.

John Patterson of Tiffin read a statement to open court proceedings for the day in Seneca County Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Kelbley’s courtroom Wednesday morning. The ceremonial opening came before a ribbon-cutting today at Seneca County Justice Center.

Kelbley declared court was open at the conclusion of Patterson’s pronouncement and quipped there was no pay.

“Mr. Patterson, I’m honored that you were able to open court this morning,” Kelbley said.

Patterson, whose wife, Diana, accompanied him Wednesday, is a Vietnam War veteran who entered the U.S. Marine Corps when he was 17 years old. He said Ben Chaffee, one of his best friends who is a farmer in Sycamore, signed his military paperwork.

Patterson said he was in Vietnam in 1969 and was there for a little more than six months.

While there, he helped train dogs to find booby traps and didn’t take the same dog each day in an effort to avoid the dogs picking up his scent.

“I couldn’t get on the path,” he said.

Patterson exited the Marine Corps in 1970.

Kelbley said he and Patterson had been acquaintances for more than 30 years.

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