Note: This column appears in the Wednesday, July 10 newspaper on Page A3.
Congrats to classmate Susan Collins Campbell on her Ashville Women’s Distinguished Award for Service.
It was good to meet a reader, 85-year-old Clifford Souders from Vinton County, who stopped to tell me he enjoys Round the Town.
A girl from Patriot (down below Oak Hill) who had her eye removed due to cancer got a good report. Her port is out and no spots are on her other eye. She will have to go for an eye exam every three months so keep her in your prayers all goes well.
Get well wishes to Dale Freeland and Moose Gallagher. My good friend Jenny Chapman Burton had open heart surgery last Tuesday and needs prayers.
Sabrina Hill had shoulder surgery; Loretta Jones is still in hospital.
I saw pictures of Aaron Kirby after a bike wreck going 25 miles per hour. His helmet split in two and he woke up in a helicopter after knocking himself unconscious. Aaron advises everyone to wear a helmet while bike or motorcycle riding.
I was saddened to learn of the death of former Oak Hill graduate, Leah Neal Dorsey, 59, who passed away in Arizona. A memorial service will be announced at a later date.
Jackson grad and famous sculptor, Fletcher Benton, passed away on June 26 in San Francisco. He was the late Mary Jones’ brother. He was honored for his achievements by the 2018 JHS Alumni.
Family here just learned of the death of Wellston grad Gerald Q. Arthur, who passed away Nov. 11, 2018 in Tennessee. He was a noted voice teacher and vocal coach, and a professional classical singer. He was 91.
Also, Vinton County native Steve Tolbert passed away from ALS at age 67 in League City, Texas.
I saw a picture of a black bear in Minford on Facebook.
Isn’t it funny how red, white and blue represent freedom until they are flashing right behind you?
Another thought — When you get tired of talking bad about me, don’t forget to tell them all the good I have done.
Another thought — I don’t like four letter words: dust, iron, cook, mend, bake and diet.
A soldier who never knew, nor will ever know me died for me so I can be free. The least I can do is stand for the National Anthem. Fifty-three years ago, a young man from Blackfork, Donald Russell Long, gave his life to save his comrades in Vietnam. What most of you don’t know: on Thursday morning, June 30, 1966, it was like any other day during Vietnam’s rainy season (hot and steamy with temps in the ‘90s with frequent downpours).
It was a day that Long’s Charlie Troop, First Squadron, Fourth Calvary, First infantry division was scheduled for a search-and-destroy mission along Highway 13 (Thunder Road) in Binh Long Province. Long wasn’t scheduled to go with his troop.
Instead he was scheduled on an “Ash and Trash” flight back to headquarters at Lai Khef for out processing. Long’s tour of duty had come to an end. When he heard about the day’s mission, he insisted on going with his men, rather than go home. After much debate, the commanding officer, Captain Stephen Slattery, relented and let Long go on the mission.
Thunder Road lived up to its reputation that day as the 271st Viet Cong Regiment ambushed Troops B and C at Srok Dong. During the fire fight, Sergeant Long left his armored personnel carrier to assist in resupplying advanced elements and to carry severely wounded soldiers to an evacuation helicopter, exposing him to enemy fire. An enemy grenade would soon be hurled onto the carrier deck where he was reorganizing men to press the attack.
Sergeant Long shouted a warning and pushed one soldier to safety, but realizing that his actions would not fully protect the exposed crewmen on the carrier, he unselfishly sacrificed his life by throwing his body over the grenade to absorb the blast. His efforts saved the lives of eight men that day, one of which was Captain Stephen Slattery, who tried to convince him to go home.
Sergeant Long was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroism and courage and devotion to his men that fateful day. Sergeant Long epitomized the Big Red One’s motto, “No Mission to Difficult — No sacrifice too Great — Duty First.”
Thanks to Brian Moore who shared this on Facebook. There is a monument in Oak Hill, in his memory.
Happy birthday on Aug. 5 to Dean Sexton, Hunter Blair (21) classmate Roger Canter, Wally Sunderland, Kim Yates, Shelly Brown, Donnie Stiffler, John Perry, Diane Saunders, Jay Snyder, and Ed Shields (96), and happy anniversary to Norma and Sally Byler and happy 71st to Richard and Margile McFann; on Aug. 6 is Amanda Lewis, Sarah Jones, Bobby McGhee, Billy Wildman, Diane Morris, Paul “Feller” Strong, Stella Alexander, and Stephanie Rife, and happy 41st to Mike and Mary McDonald; on Aug. 7 is Jason Manning, Barry Crabtree, Barb and Ivan Stephenson, Mark Chapman, classmate Jim Cummings, Dave Clarkson, Mary Beth Casteel, Kim Christman, and Josh Ferris; on Aug. 8 is Karen O’Connor, Mandy Tripp, Helen Biggs, Debbie Hanna, and Brian Adkins, and happy 32nd anniversary to Rick and Carol Abrahamson, 38th to Dwayne and Ellen Paugh, 18th to Jerry and April Riley, 49th to Dan and Jackie Franklin, and to Marty and Cynthia Wallace; on Aug. 9 is Easton Canode, Roger Mercer, Judy Kearns, Willie Coy, Ellen Paugh, Norman Wiley, Clay Wood, Bari Hughes, Kenny Taylor, Eileen Beaumont, Derek Gillum, Lisa Brisker, Bree Walton, Janet Langley, and Tanya Wheatcraft, and happy 38th anniversary to Nick and Mitzi Campbell, Todd and April Farrar, and Jason and Jill Sheets; on Aug. 10 is Judy Rupert, Kyle Bartram, Tom Slater, classmates Dennis Dupree and Karen Lackey, Cindy Eubanks, and Amber Montgomery, and happy anniversary to classmate Tom and Chris Jenkins, Dennis and Penny Crabtree married 50 years, and Randy and Jenny Williams married 34 years; on Aug. 11 is Tracey Belcher, Kay Boroff, Carolyn McCormick, Ann Sheward, and Wendy James, and happy 46th anniversary to Mark and Vicki Foster, Mopp and Freda Molihan, classmate Carol (Herrell) and John Morris 52 years.
Thanks for being a reader. Call me with your news at 740-286-5014, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop by the Maytag Store at 259 E. Main St. in Jackson.