Vets honored at Winston County High

Veterans honored at Winston County High School were, bottom row, from left, Alan Gray, Eddie Densmore, Clyde Garrison, William Storie, Jim Baird, G.W. Elliott, Jerry Thorn and Carl Alexander. Middle row is Danny Jacks, Brandon Key, Joe Steele, Johnnie Hill and Ralph Garcia. Top is Neeley Adams.

DOUBLE SPRINGS - Fourteen veterans, ranging from the Korean War to present day, were honored at the Winston County High School gymnasium Friday, Nov. 9.

Principal Jeff Cole welcomed everyone in attendance and explained the freedoms enjoyed were because of the American soldier.

“They are our heroes,” Cole said. “In honor of sacrifice and the incredible gift of freedom, we pause once a year on the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, and we recognize the end of World War I.”

“Some of these folks graduated high school and Uncle Sam sent them a letter. Their lives changed, and they performed their duties. They came home, raised a family and built a community. Our American soldier has made it possible for us to welcome you today.”

SGA President Ethan Moore led the gathering in the Pledge of Allegiance before the band played the national anthem.

Cole passed the microphone to each of the 14 veterans, who introduced themselves. The list of those are as follows:

Eddie Densmore, Navy;
Clyde Garrison, Air Force;
Alan Gray, Army;
Jim Baird, Army;
G.W. Elliott, Army;
William Storie, Alabama Army National Guard;
Joe Steele, Navy;
Carl Alexander, Army;
Brandon Key, Alabama Army National Guard;
Jerry Thorn, Army;
Neeley Adams, Army;
Johnnie Hill, Navy;
Ralph Garcia, Army;
and Danny Jacks, Marine Corps.

The band performed an “Armed Forces Medley” after the introduction of the honored veterans.
Cole then read the names of deceased veterans. Although more names were called out afterwards, the following list are those read during the ceremony:

Ken Williams, Marines;
Melita Prestridge Key;
Ovon Kelly, Army;
Brian Freeman, Army;
Warren Kelly, Army;
Philip Kelly, Army;
Robert Moody, National Guard;
Lester Courington, Army;
Bob McCombs, Navy;
Ralph Bailey, Air Force;
Jasper Bailey Jr., Army;
Ambrus Gray, Navy;
Rosa Gray, Navy;
Aubrey “Slim” Tingle, Army;
Theo Tingle, Army;
J.C. Gillentine, Army;
Don Henson, Army;
Mary J. O’Mary, Navy;
James Mann;
Donald Virgil Patton, Army/Air Corps;
Scott White, Army;
Neil Shipman, Army;
Darrell Williams Sr., Army;
Larry Robins, Army;
Luther M. Herald, Army;
G.A. Herald, Army;
Grady Peak, Navy;
James Bonner, Army;
Olen D. Powell, Army;
Vincent Caltigarone;
R.L. Cockrell, Air Force;
James Dalton Brown, Army;
Hoyett Wolfe, Navy;
J.D. Batchelor, Army;
Grady Batchelor Sr., Army
Frank Wilson;
Carol Anthony Shipley, Army;
Ray Baldwin, Coast Guard;
Burtis Blaine Cagle, Navy;
Eldon Curtis, Army;
Hugh Ward, Army;
Levon Batchelor, Army;
Martin Young, Army;
Aubry Lee Wilson, Army;
Thomas J. McCullar, Army;
Hubert Godsey, Army;
and Morris K. Dyer, Air Force.

A common theme throughout the veteran ceremonies this year is the fact not many World War II veterans are here any longer. This year, there were no veterans from World War II in attendance of the WCHS ceremony.

“It’s not going to be long before we have an assembly without a Korean War (veteran) with us,” Cole said. “It’s coming real quickly. So I want to encourage you, when you get a chance to thank a veteran, don’t let that get away from you.”

Nearly all the deceased veterans read from the list attended Winston County High.

“They are our community,” Cole explained. “They are the community that raised me, just as I am the community that raises you. They still raise me.”

Samuel Crowe of the band then played “Taps.”

“I want to say thank you,” Cole said at the end of the ceremony. “Thank you from me. Not only for your service to our country and your service to our community and your sacrifice that you and your family made, thank you for being the person the Bible says no greater love is a man who lays down his life for a friend. You put yours in the crosshairs for me, and I appreciate it.”
Once concluded, refreshments were served for the veterans in the library.

See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.
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