Abraham Lincoln, stood tall, pacing the stage and telling his audience of the hardships he faced as president more than 150 years ago.
Wally Earhart, who portrays the 16th president, gave an educational, yet rousing monologue to about 150 people Saturday night at the annual Churchill County Republican Central Committee’s Lincoln Day dinner.
Lincoln’s stoic look accentuated his words of the 1860s, many of which could apply to present-day America.
“Our country is in a time that it has some problems,” Earhart said, stopping in center stage to stroke his beard. “Our country in various times has had problems. People of this country made it through the problems and came up with solutions to put the right people in the right positions.”
Earhart spent some time talking about Lincoln’s trip to Gettysburg, site of the bloodiest battle in the American Civil War and now a national cemetery.
“Lincoln rode an old nag into Gettysburg and took his entire staff with him,” Earhart said, adding the president received great support from his staff include John Hay and John Nickolay.
While at Gettysburg, Lincoln delivered a speech consisting of fewer than 400 words and stressed that government is of the people, for the people, by the people.
“Government is for all the people,” Earhart stressed. “Lincoln stood on the foundation that this nation was doing right.”
Earhart said more than 9,000 books have been written in the United States about Lincoln. The president, who was born in Kentucky, received some formal education in Indiana and set up his law practice in Illinois. He learned to be a lawyer from the material he read in “Black’s Book of the Law.”
Lincoln quickly became one of the preeminent attorneys in Illinois.
“He moved around working on railroad issues,” Earhart said. “They paid him well.”
While in Illinois, the voters elected him to the statehouse and then to Congress where he served one term in the House of Representatives.
“If he were back there today (Washington, D.C), he would be by himself with everything that is going on there,” Earhart said.
According to Earhart, Lincoln was a visionary, seeing the need for both a transcontinental telegraph system and railroad. He also said Lincoln was acquainted with the great wealth of Nevada and what the potential state could bring during he Civil War.
“In 1863 West Virginia became a state, and in 1864 he brought Nevada into the U.S. on an equal footing with the original 13 states,” Earhart pointed out. “The only thing he wanted from Nevada was to assure added votes to the 13th amendment to Constitution to abolish slavery.”
Those words referring to slavery also convinced Lincoln to join the Grand Old Party in the late 1850s after he saw the one sentence platform: “Slavery is wrong.”
“That’s my party,” Lincoln said after reading the proclamation.
Those familiar with Civil War photographer Matthew Brady’s photos may remember Lincoln regularly visited the troops.
“He is the only president who visited the troops in the field during battle. He went out to encourage the troops,” Earhart said. “He and his wife visited the troops in the hospital.”
Earhart said Lincoln was a greet man with forward thinking, but his life was cut short by an assassin’s bullet in April 1965 at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.
“After the assassination, he referred to a man of all ages,” Earhart said. “You are never too old to do good for the people.”
While Earhart’s portrayal captured most of the evening’s attention, Fallon Mayor Ken Tedford Jr. and the CCRC recognized retired Army veteran, businessman and mayor Merton Domonoske during a tribute.
Tedford read prepared comments about Domonoske’s early live in California before eventually relocating to Nevada.
“I remember Mert riding a bike in the Labor Day parade with his derby hat and smoking a cigar,” Tedford said. “Mert is a fun-loving and carefree man and is adored by all who know him.”
Tedford pointed out Domonoske’s contributions in city government and the many organizations to which he served. Residents elected him to city council and to four terms as mayor. He was also a past president of the Nevada League of Cities and the Fallon Chamber of Commerce.
“As if that were not enough, Mert fought in World War II, serving as a captain, and organized and commanded the Fallon National Guard unit during the Korean War,” Tedford said. “Mert also owned and operated E.H. Hursh with his first wife Nadine for many years, and he is listed in Who’s Who in Commerce and Industry.”
Tedford said when Domonoske married his second wife, he became a father and grandfather that brought his life new adventures.
After Tedford finished reading the tribute, Paula Domonoske received a plaque in her husband’s honor to a standing ovation.
The closest many in attendance came to the politicians was when CCRCC Chairwoman Sondra Hillary acknowledged those in attendance or the politicians mingled with the crowd before and after the dinner.
Congressman Mark Amodei, the master of ceremonies, recognized former Lt. Gov. Brian Krolikci, who has missed only one Fallon Lincoln Day dinner since the early 1990s.