By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(May 10, 2018) The Ocean City Elks Lodge #2645 last Thursday honored 40 service members as part of its 2018 Hometown Heroes Military Banner program.
The fifth annual banner dedication ceremony, held near the Firefighter’s Memorial on the Ocean City Boardwalk, honored 31 local, living World War II and Korean War veterans, and nine active-duty servicemen from Worcester County.
Pat Riordan of the lodge’s veterans committee helped organize and emcee the event. He said the idea for the program was borrowed from a similar remembrance he saw six years ago during a golf trip to Temecula, California.
“I thought Ocean City would really be a great place for it, and [the Elks committee] said run it by the Town Council and the mayor and see what they say. That was back in 2013,” Riordan said.
The inaugural program, in 2014, honored 20 active-duty military. World War II veterans were added in 2016, and Korean War veterans were included for the first time last year.
“We’re trying to get the older veterans while they’re still with us, because we only have so many flagpoles to go with,” Riordan said. “Last year of the 40 banners we had up, eight of them passed away while their banners were up and two of the have passed away since then.”
The dedication ceremony is held each year in conjunction with Springfest, and banners are taken down and presented to honorees each October.
The honorees are encouraged to speak during the observance, although Riordan said many veterans remain humble about their service.
“With some of them, their families have to surprise them to get them there – they don’t know they’re being recognized,” he said. “But I’ve gotten quite a few emails from some of the families saying what it meant to them.
“It’s worth every bit of the work that goes into it, because these guys deserve it. They deserve the recognition and, for the active duty kids and everybody that walks the Boardwalk, it’s great for them to see that these guys are so respected and admired,” Riordan continued. “That’s something that hasn’t always been there and, regardless of your politics, the troops are here to fight for our freedom and to keep us a free country –that’s what it’s all about.”
For more information on the program, call Riordan at 443-623-6162 or email email@example.com.
Honored this year were:
Alonza “Andy” Anderson, Private, World War II, U.S. Army
Russell C. Bradford, Sergeant, World War II, U.S. Army
Claude Gary “Joe” Coleman, Jr., AR 3rd Class, World War II, U.S. Navy
Thomas P. Collins, Seaman 2nd Class, World War II, U.S. Navy
Raymond Congour, Dental Officer, World War II and Korea, U.S. Navy and Army
- Dean Epperson, Petty Officer 3rd Class, World War II, U.S. Navy
John Stockton Holmes, Sergeant, World War II, U.S. Army
Phillip D. Reed, Corporal, World War II, U.S. Marine Corps
Robert J. Sousa, Seaman 1st Class, World War II and Korea, U.S. Navy
Roland F. “Sonny” Adkins, PFC, Korea, U.S. Army
Lorenzo Bowen, Corporal, Korea, U.S. Army
Charles F. Breining, Sergeant 1st Class, Korea, U.S. Army
Herbert Brittingham, Corporal, Korea, U.S. Army
Mervin Byrd, PFC, Korea, U.S. Army
William Campion, Private, Korea, U.S. Navy
Edgar A. Duvall, Corporal, Korea, U.S. Army
Preston Foreman, Sr., Staff Sergeant, Korea, U.S. Army
Vincent Giammona, Corporal, Post-World War II, U.S. Army
Francis Elisha Graye, PFC, Korea, U.S. Army
John Hancock, PFC, Korea, U.S. Army
Osie Octo Henry, Corporal, Korea, U.S. Army
Earl S. Hewitt, Airman 1st Class, Korea, U.S. Air Force
Calvin Thomas Lilliston, PFC, Korea, U.S. Marine Corps
Rudy Magnone, Staff Sergeant, Korea, U.S. Army
Wallace N. Purnell, Corporal, Korea, U.S. Army
William Runkle, Engineer Third Class, Korea, U.S. Navy
- Howard Sinclair, Jr., Corporal, Korea, U.S. Air Force
John Dale Smack, Jr., Airman 1st Class, Korea, U.S. Air Force
Thomas Garner Smith, Captain, Korea, U.S. Army Airborne
Carl M. Windmiller, AT1, Korea, U.S. Navy
James Wolf, PFC, Korea, U.S. Army
Jordan Tyler Adkins, E3, Active Duty, U.S. Coast Guard
Ryan Bradford, Active Duty, U.S. Navy
Michael Butcher, Private, Active Duty, U.S. Army
Gregory Copeland, Airman, Active Duty, U.S. Air Force
Jason T Hearne Jr., Airman, Active Duty, U.S. Air Force
Jordan Lee Shenton, ETC, Active Duty, U.S. Navy
Chet Stottlemyer, Airman 1st Class, Active Duty, U.S. Air Force
Cedric Maurice Land, 2nd Lieutenant, Active Duty, U.S. Army
Joshua Reister, HM2 Medical Dive Technician, Active Duty, U.S. Navy