Rolling Thunder visits Woodside Village
By EVELYN LONG -
The solemnity of the program conducted by Chapter 5 of Rolling Thunder at Woodside Village Care Center on October 6, served as a reminder that there are many US service men and women missing in action or held as prisoners of war.
Focusing on the Vietnam War, Rolling Thunder brought along a replica of the Vietnam Wall Memorial which was imprinted with the names of 137 Ohioans.
Two poignant scenes were re enacted, one in which a mother, daughter and son searched the wall for the name of their loved one — and in another scene a buddy accompanied by two “ghost walkers” searched for the names of those two buddies on the wall.
Participating in the program were Jim Crawford, of Mount Gilead, who is Chaplain of Chapter 5; Phil Dennison, president of the Chapter; Paul Kline, chairman of the Wall Committee and Frank Schumaker, vice president, who conducted the POW-MIA ceremony.
Pat Sexton, who accompanies Chapter 5 on its appearances, lost her husband, David Mason Sexton, in 1971 when he was killed in Vietnam at the age of 21 years. He was serving with the US Army on a 155 self Propelled Howitzer and had been in Viet Nam only four months. Sexton said she sensed his death at the moment he was killed and 15 minutes later,their son was born on March 15, 1971. She said neither his remains nor the DNA of her husband have ever been found. “I’m thankful for the names on the wall,” she said, where she can trace that of her late husband, She remains active with Rolling Thunder and is an over-the-road truck driver employee. Their son is 41 years old.
Speaking briefly was Ben Granger, administrator of Woodside Village, who said “Veterans have a special place here at Woodside. The ‘greatest generation’ and every generation of veterans are our commitment to veterans. WE care for veterans from a three county area. Rolling Thunder has adopted our building,” he said.
There are 16 veterans residing in Woodside Village.
A simulated rescue complete with the actual sound of gunfire by recording, was made of a prisoner in a bamboo cage. The prisoner was portrayed by Michael Tuttle of Shelby. Portraying the mother, daughter and son searching for their loved one’s name were Hazel Smith, Sexton and Don Seymour, chairman of the board.
This program was also sponsored by Hospice of Morrow County, represented by Verlon Bricker, volunteer chaplain and Dave Matos, Chaplain and the Morrow County Veterans Commission represented by Ryan Lawson, veterans service officer.
Hospice presented a certificate of recognition to each veteran in Woodside and Lawson offered information on the many services offered at the Veterans Service Office.
Veterans residing in Woodside Village include Norma Doyle, a riveter during WWII; Army Veterans Carroll Burns, Gilbert Mullennix, Eugene Shaffer, Ed Shrout, John Tennant and Harold Yoder; Navy Veterans Bill Hackworth, Olen Hill, Ron Komer, Bob Chapman, Ron Squibb, James Freeman and John Gardner and Air Force Veteran Herbert Parsons. Robin Askew is a veteran of the WACS.
There are 4000 veterans in Morrow County.
The program concluded with a demonstration on the proper folding of the American flag.