EKU to honor POW/MIA with empty chair at stadium

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RICHMOND, Ky. (KT) - Eastern Kentucky University’s Roy Kidd Stadium has added one new seat to its capacity, a seat that holds the memories of thousands, but which will remain forever unfilled.

A Prisoner of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA) Honor Chair was unveiled near the statue of Coach Roy Kidd, on top of The Hill.

Director of Military and Veteran Affairs Barbara Kent and Rolling Thunder Kentucky Chapter 5 have been working for months to place the Honor Chair, which is a permanent reminder of soldiers who never came home and who remain lost on the field of battle in overseas wars.

“I never spoke about it,” said Cindy Stonebreaker, the daughter of Lt. Colonel Kenneth Stonebreaker, who went missing in Vietnam in Oct. 28, 1968. She is now on the Board of Directors for the National League of POW/MIA Families in Washington, D.C. “My focus is now on the 1,587 veterans who never returned from Vietnam.”

Fourteen Kentucky Vietnam veterans remain classified as missing in action, one of whom was an EKU graduate.

“But for me, today, this chair has a very personal, important presence in my heart,” said Cathy Stringer Robinson, whose father, Capt. John Curtis Stringer II went missing in Vietnam in Nov. 1970. She is a graduate of EKU like her father was. “I don’t think he missed many games while he was here at Eastern. He loved Eastern. He loved his ROTC program, and I feel that this is a very special chair.”

She added: “I really want to thank EKU for this chair and this remembrance ceremony. This is beyond anything I could have imagined. Barbara Kent has been a workhorse for this chair. That’s what this mission is about, not forgetting my father.”

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