gmhTODAY 22 gmhToday Oct Nov 2018 - Page 71

Remember our fallen U.S. veterans. Honor those who serve. Teach your children the value of freedom. —Wreaths Across America VETERANS DAY PROGRAMS Morgan Hill Rotary WREATHS ACROSS AMERICA Every December, Americans gather at local cemeteries to lay wreaths at the gravesites of U.S. military veterans. This tradition dates back to 1992 when the owner of a tree farm in Maine had a surplus of Christmas wreaths and decided to donate and ship them to Arlington National cemetery to be placed at the gravesites of veterans. In 2005 he formed Wreaths Across America, a national nonprofit that mobilizes communities to honor their veterans in the same way. South County’s champion of Wreaths Across America is Gilroy Chamber of Commerce President Mark Turner. Five years ago Turner looked into the organization and was so inspired he invited Chamber members to join him in community outreach efforts for fundraising and wreath laying at three local cemeteries (Gavilan Hills and St. Marys in Gilroy, and Mt. Hope in Morgan Hill). Now it’s an annual tradition. “I wanted to honor our veterans and appreciated the mission of Wreaths Across America so I signed up as the contact for Morgan Hill and Gilroy. Over 1,200 veterans are buried in South County. This year, we’ll hold a public ceremony at each of three cemeteries on December 15th. We’ll invite local county and city officials to speak. A bugler will play taps. Then we’ll pay tribute to veterans who have passed. We are hoping to see the construction of a memorial at Gavilan Hills this year.” “People don’t realize the degree to which our veterans are impacted. My father was a Marine. His service during the Korean War had a profound impact on his life. He instilled in me a love of country, respect for our flag, and the need to honor military men and women.” Marine Lance Corporal Jeramy A. Ailes died while serving in Fallujah in 2004. Ailes was 22 years old. He was killed in an explosion outside a house thought to be occupied by insurgents. He had lived in Gilroy and was buried at Gavilan Hills. His family attended the wreath-laying ceremony there two years ago. As part of his military training, Ailes had learned to speak and read Arabic, and was known among fellow soldiers for giving money to Iraqi families who had no food, and giving soccer balls to their children. Turner said that one year, a Vietnam Vet came all the way from Texas to participate in Wreaths Across America Day to honor a fellow soldier he’d deployed with who had lived in South County. “They had made a pact that if one didn’t make it through the war alive, the other would visit his gravesite. During the ceremony he came up to me and shared his story and I stood with him at his friend’s grave.” Gilroyan Frank Masoni served in the Marines during World War II. He was reported to have died in battle in 1943 and was subsequently buried as an unknown soldier. After DNA identification came into practice, the military identified his body, which had been buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii. His body was flown home in a casket and the hearse was escorted from San Jose Airport to Gilroy by the Patriot Motorcycle Club. During their trip down Highway 101, fire fighters from San Jose to Gilroy manned every overpass. Masoni was buried in November 2017 in Gavilan Hills, and was posthumously awarded full military honors. Turner has been a Veteran’s Day keynote at Gilroy Veteran’s Hall, and received an American Legion Award for Community Leadership. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018 A Tribute to Command Sergeant Major Bennie Adkins (Ret) Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient November 14th, 2018 12pm to 1:30pm Morgan Hill Community & Cultural Center Info at: portal.clubrunner.ca/6773/ Tickets: $20 (includes lunch) Adkins is flying in from Alabama to speak at the Rotary event which is open to the community. He served with U.S. Army Special Forces for more than 13 years and 9 years in other military service with the Army. Adkins has been decorated with many medals for his exemplary service, but in 2014 he was awarded the Congres- sional Medal of Honor for his valor during four days of intense fighting (in the 5th Special Forces Group/Airborne) in Vietnam in March of 1966. I 2&( FvW"rW>( #F0&V6VG2FRfW'2bFB&GFRvVFvW"V&VBFRVvRVpF2B2VWfFRFRVVגग&'6&w&vW"f &v&F'VBVff'G2FWBF27V6&w&f"fWFW&( 2FFBv&RVFFRV&Ɩ2v&W&6Vv7B#pfWFW&2V&'VFpsBrgF7G&VWB2B( "v&( "rV'2v&( "3SV&W'27&726WF6VG( "7B6FW"&&W'B&VF&FRW&6Vv2G&F0fWFW&>( 6W'f6R&v旦F6֗BЧFVBFVF&rWF76'6`vW6R&w&2FR6VGBGf6FrG&F6B"&Fr7G&rF6V7W&G@6FVVBFWfFFFfVr6W'f6PV&W'2BfWFW&2W&6Vv#r&|* *vևFF6Уs