Community set to honor veterans

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer

Ceremonies will be held across the community over the next few days to honor those veterans who have served in the Armed Forces.
Veterans Day is Sunday and the federal holiday is observed Monday.

At 10 a.m. Sunday at the Memorial Building, a program will be held to honor veterans, including survivors of the Bataan Death March, said American Legion Post 31 Commander Joe Blair.

“We just like to have this program to let people know they (veterans) are appreciated. It needs to be done and it’s something that people have lost sight of,” Blair said.

Special guests for the program will include Bataan Death March survivors Alvin Fails and Irvin Butler. A third honoree and survivor, John L. Johnson, who currently resides in Amarillo, will be unable to attend, Blair said.

“There’s only three of the survivors left from Roosevelt County,” said Blair.

Also honored during the ceremony will be family members of Homer Hobbs, J.C. McCormick, Top Pruitt and Hutch Gardner, other Bataan Death March survivors who have since died, Blair said.

Guest speaker for the program will be Col. Valentino Bagnani III, vice commander of the 27th Special Operations Wing at Cannon Air Force Base, Blair said.

“You Are Our Heroes” is the program theme that will be performed by third-grade students from James Elementary. The performance will take place at 1 p.m. on Sunday at VFW Post 9515 in Portales. During the program, thank you cards that the students have made will be displayed for the veterans to see, said music teacher Carol Wood.

“This is the sixth year we’ve done this (program),” Wood said.

Wood was formerly the music teacher at Valencia Elementary before moving to her current position at James.

VFW Post 9515 will be out at the Portales Cemetery on Saturday morning to place 800 flags on the graves of veterans who are no longer living.

Anyone wishing to help and volunteer their time is encouraged to meet at the VFW Post, 316 South Main, at 9 a.m. Saturday morning or call 359-0332 after 2 p.m., said Post Commander Steve Kemp.

“We’re paying respects to our veterans. Part of our creed is helping the veterans by honoring the dead and helping the living,” Kemp said.

At a glance

What: A Tribute to Veterans
When: Sunday
Where: Memorial Building – 7th and Abilene
Time: 2 p.m.

• Posting the colors – Vivian Cato, Harry Black – Post 31
• The Star Spangled Banner – Don Paschke
• Pledge of Allegiance – Dennis Darrow – Carl McDermitt Post 31
• Invocation – Rev. Winston Berry – First Baptist Church
• Mayor – Honorable Orlando Ortega Jr.
• Welcome – Joe Blair – Commander Post 31
• POW/MIA Remembrance
• Special Presentation – Judy Hall – President Unit 31
• An American Tribute – James Kyte, Dennis Darrow
• Veterans Day Address – Col. Valentino Bagnani III – Vice Commander 27th Special Operations Wing – Cannon Air Force Base
• America The Beautiful – Don Paschke
• Amazing Grace – Jana Stanfield
• Benediction – Rev. Winston Berry
• Taps – Post 31
• Retirement of Colors

Refreshments will be served immediately following the program.
Program sponsored by the members of American Legion Post 31 and the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 31.