One veteran is recognized for his or her service every year during the Celebration of Freedom Veterans Day program.

One veteran is recognized for his or her service every year during the Celebration of Freedom Veterans Day program.

"This year’s most deserving Veteran of the Year and his wife are known as philanthropists, having been the recipients of many local, state and national awards, but his military record is just as interesting as his generosity to our community and beyond," said Dick Morris in the presentation of the award Sunday morning.

This entrepreneur was Ted Dankert, who was only 10 years old when he moved to Kansas from Nebraska. 

"His entrepreneurial spirit emerged early in life when he began throwing papers for the Wichita Eagle," Morris said. "He went on the work at Kiddieland Amusement Park, where he was in charge of the pony rides, then on to making deliveries for a lumber yard."

Dankert also is a graduate of East High School, and graduated from Wichita State University with a bachelor of science in business administration. 

At WSU, he was a ROTC member and was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in the United States Army. 

Dankert served a total of 28 years in the military, 10 active duty and the rest in the Reserves. Dankert retired as colonel in 1987.

During his Army career, Dankert received certification as a scuba diver and paratrooper in 1964 and served with the Test and Evaluation Command at Ft. Knox.  He served in Vietnam from 1966-67 with the 173rd Airborne Brigade.  Upon his return, he was assigned to the Combat Arms Group at Ft. Leavenworth.

He is a graduate of the Command and General Staff School, the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and the Air Force War College.  He completed graduate hours at the University of Kentucky.

His reserve duty took him to Green Bay, Wisc.; San Louis Obispo, Calif.; Reno, Nevada; Ft. Hood, Texas; and several tours at the Pentagon.

He is a member of the Elite Defense Orientation Conference Association.

Dankert is known locally as founder of Dustrol, Inc. in Towanda.

In his spare time, Dankert served as an El Dorado City Commissioner, is past president and Board Member of the Asphalt Recycling and Reclaiming Association, past president and Board member of the Kansas Contractors Association, and Kansas Asphalt Paving Association, he served on the Governor’s T2000 Task Force, the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Industry Board and currently is a Trustee on the Butler Community College Board of Trustees.  He has served on the board of the YMCA, served as Senior Warden of Trinity Episcopal Church, is a member of El Dorado Rotary and is a current member of the Butler County Educational Facilities Authority.

Ted and his wife Barbara, in addition to their generosity to education and other endeavors, have been a faithful investors in Celebration of Freedom all of its 15 years. 

"I'm totally impressed by the program today," Dankert said after being recognized as veteran of the year. "I'm normally not at a loss for words."

He also acknowledged that his wife was a huge part of what he did.