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Friday, Aug. 22, 2014

Loyalty Day: Another victim of storms

Friday, May 16, 2003

By LYNN HAMILTON

Lifestyles Editor

Dark skies and drenching downpours threatened to ruin any outdoor activity Saturday and although unfavorable weather conditions did not permit the Loyalty Day parade to take place, the Clay County Veterans Group continued with their scheduled Loyalty Day celebration at the Forest Park pavilion, with the help of the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Chapter 79 of the Disabled Veterans of Clay County and the support of many local businesses and organizations. The event, coordinated by Les Walden, Clay County veterans service officer, was to honor all veterans of the armed services as well as those serving the country now, with 42 World War II veterans as the guests of honor, three of them being women. And Walden later deemed it "one of those occasions that will always be remembered by those in attendance."

The audience of approximately 160 did not know what was in store for them when Walden welcomed the veterans and their families at 10 a.m. He praised the community for supporting the troops currently serving as well as veterans.

American Legion Post No. 2 and VFW Post No. 1127 presented the colors followed by the "Pledge of Allegiance," led by Pat Carter of DAV Chapter 79. Rob Moore of Moore Funeral Home gave the invocation.

Those in attendance were then treated to "The American Spirit Show," a musical show modeled after Bob Hope's USO shows, put on by the Pfizer Performing Roadshow. World War II veteran, William Kennedy said he had seen them before, but that it was a "good program." The cast spent about 35 minutes lip syncing to patriotic songs, mostly from the World War II era.

Shirley Jarvis of Terre Haute and Joan Crooks of Shelburn, who play two of the Andrews sisters, said the group has been performing for about four years. They are volunteers who originally did programs for Pfizer, Terre Haute, for safety advance and holidays. Eventually, Pfizer let the crew use their name and bought equipment which they use to do about two shows a month.

When Walden; Clay County Commissioners, Pres. Dave Parr, Buddy Knox and Daryl Andrews; Mayor Kenny Crabb; and Clay County Veterans Group representatives Mike Galloway, the local recruiter for Brazil's army guard unit, Carter, Tom Harris and Gary Mosteller, began presenting each of the World War II veterans with a Certificate of Appreciation and a World War II lapel pin, designed by Walden and Patti Knuth of Lawson-Slack Funeral Home, the weather took a turn for the worse. As Walden put it, "this is the time the event begins to get memorable."

The sky turned from gray to green and then to black. The wind picked up and started blowing in rain from all sides of the pavilion. There was no longer a dry seat in the house, so while Elks Lodge No. 762 members, who provided a free pork chop dinner, worked quickly to move their serving tables from the west end of the pavilion, everyone else was ushered onto the stage where the brick walls and dressing rooms provided the only means of shelter. People listening to scanners kept Walden informed of the local tornado watches and sightings, who then relayed the information to the somewhat anxious crowd.

Still, Walden refused to stray from the purpose of the occasion. Between giving weather updates, he persisted in following his agenda. Even with the entire assembly huddled on the stage, he and the commissioners proceeded to give door prizes of "Freedom" hats, golf shirts, denim shirts and sweatshirts to around 30 veterans. Carl Jarvis won the grand prize, a color television provided by Kay Shaw.

Finally, the torrents subsided, the sky lightened and Walden declared that it was time to eat. Several stood during the meal because the picnic tables had gotten soaked. But the showers were not able to dampen anyone's spirit. Walden said one World War II veteran told him "this was a very special day for him and that it reminded him of his duty in Germany and France in which he mostly ate standing up and the storm was like the war and the havoc of the guns and artillery going off all the time."

Despite unforeseen circumstances, everyone present seemed to agree with Walden's assessment that this year's Loyalty Day celebration was "a big success." Kennedy and World War II veteran William Dunfee both felt it was "wonderful" and Kennedy added that Walden "did a great job putting this together."

Knox, who served in the Korean War, also gave Walden credit, saying "Les has done us a good job." He expressed regret that because of the weather "there were not enough people here to see this." Fellow Korean War veteran Jim Slusser, of Terre Haute, described the entire program as "excellent. I wish we could get our service office over there to do something like this."

Due to forecasts of more rain, the parade was cancelled for the first time in many years, but VFW Post No. 1127 hosted a party for the veterans and all those who helped in presenting the program at the pavilion.

In 2004, Loyalty Day will be the first Saturday of May and Clay County will be honoring Vietnam veterans. Even though Walden thought "the event was great this year," he hopes that "Mother Nature does not take an active role in next year's celebration."

- - -

World War II veterans honored on Loyalty Day included:

Virgil G. Ames

Ray Dennany

Clarence H. Peterson

Gerald Deakins

James C. Middledorf

Wilbur Hoffman

Robert M. Olson

Ralph Jennings

Jack Van Ness

Alfred G. Emmert

Paul H. Pierce

Virgil A. Frederick

William E. Edwards

John Deakins

Warren D. Lankford

Fred Kellum

Robert L. Loughmiller

James R. Roberts

Richard E. Modesitt

Frank Peebles

F. Rosalind Sellmer

Virgil Whittington

Paul Mishler

Donald R. Crabb

David Hunter

Donald E. Hassler

L. Wayne Jones

Harold Plunkett

William Lynch Jr.

William E. Morthland

Richard A. Tabor

Rex Elwell

Bertha M. (Riggs) Watler

Bill Elwell

Russel Wolfe

Ted Elwell

Mildred Louise (Powell) Coleman

Uba M. (Grimes) Watler

Jacob E. Gibbens

James T. Brown

William Kennedy

Cecil A. Shobe

A.C. Jones

William Osman

William Dunfee

Mose Marks

John Gerth

John J. Jones

William J. Baird

John E. Reese

Carl Jarvis

Maurice Kennedy

Arthur Jonas

Leland W. Sutton

Clarence Metz

Donald Target

Dale Griffith



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