The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

May 21, 2012

Wall of Honor to hold service

ENID — For more than a decade, Enid’s Woodring Wall of Honor has honored America’s veterans during Memorial Day, and this year will be no exception.

Wall of Honor Director Elaine Johns said more than 20 men and women have been lost since last year’s service, and those soldiers will be honored Monday, as has been done for more than a decade.

“We dedicated the park in 2000, and we’ve been hosting Memorial Day services for 12 years,” she said. “We started honoring the fallen soldiers and families in 2002.”

The 10 a.m. event at Enid Woodring Regional Airport also will feature state and local leaders.

Guest speakers include Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb and Maj. Gen. Mark Graham, deputy chief of staff for U.S. Forces Command. Local legislators, Sen. Patrick Anderson and Reps. Mike Jackson and John Enns, also will be at the memorial.

Johns said Graham, the keynote speaker, has lost two sons, one in Iraq and the other to suicide.

“He speaks from the heart,” she said.

Working in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, U.S. Forces Command, Graham oversees about 85 percent of the Army’s operational forces. He also finds time to travel across the nation with his wife, Carol, speaking about suicide prevention and the stigma associated with seeking mental health care.

In 2003, the Grahams’ son Kevin, a senior ROTC cadet at the University of Kentucky, died by suicide in the apartment he shared with his two siblings. Seven months after Kevin’s death, his brother, the Grahams’ eldest son, 2nd Lt. Jeffrey Graham, was killed in Iraq by an improvised explosive device.

Graham has since worked to create better awareness of depression and make depression resources more readily available for those who need them.

In addition to speakers at this year’s event, a meal will be held Sunday for the Gold Star families.

“We have a family supper on Sunday night for Gold Star families, where they can meet each other and exchange phone numbers and addresses so they can network,” Johns said. “We’re proud to know we’re the foundation for them to build upon. It’s exciting to see the fruits of your labor are successful and getting families connected and helping one another.”

American Red Cross will begin serving coffee and doughnuts at about 9 a.m. Monday, with the service beginning at 10 a.m. A Memorial Day lunch of hamburgers, hot dogs, beans and cole slaw will be served following the services.

Seating for 700 will be available, but those attending are encouraged to bring a lawn chair. Special music will be provided by the Emmanuel Baptist Church group Cornerstone.

The event is co-sponsored by Yes We Can Civitan Club, Blue Star Mothers and Enid Wall of Honor.

Those being honored this year, their hometown and date of death are: Army Staff Sgt. Kirk Owen, Sapulpa, Aug. 2, 2011; Army Spc. Augustus Vicari, Broken Arrow, July 29, 2011; Army 2nd Lt. Jared Ewy, Edmond, July 29, 2011; Army Pfc. Dylan Johnson, Tulsa, June 24, 2011; Army Spc. Jared Plunk, Turpin. June 25, 2011; Army Sgt. 1st Class Greg L. Sutton, Lawton, June 6, 2009; Army Spc. Joshua Seals, Porter, Aug. 16, 2011; Army 1st Lt. Damon Leehan, Edmond, Aug. 14, 2011; Army 2nd Lt. Joe Cunningham, Kingston, Aug. 13, 2011; Army Sgt. Anthony Del Mar Peterson, Chelsea, Aug. 4, 2011;  Marine Cpl. Jon Luke Bateman, Tulsa, Jan. 15, 2012; Army Cpl. Joshua A. Hume, Stillwater, Sept. 10, 2011; Army Sgt. Christopher Gailey, Ochelata, Nov. 1, 2011.

Also, Army Pfc. Sarina Butcher, Checotah, Nov. 1, 2011; Army Spc. Francisco J. Briseno Alvarez Jr., Oklahoma City, Sept. 25 201; Army Sgt. Mycal L. Prince, Minco, Sept. 15, 2011; Army Sgt. Bret D. Isenhower, Lamar, Sept. 9, 2011; Army Spc. Christopher D. Horton, Collinsville, Sept. 9, 2011; Army Pfc. Tony J. Potter Jr., Okmulgee, Sept. 9, 2011; Army Spc. Jordan M. Morris, Stillwater, Aug. 11, 2011; Army Sgt. Zachary A. Darras, Tahlequah, Dec. 22, 2010; Army Sgt. Travis Tompkins, Lawton, March 16, 2011; Army Pfc. Zachary Wells, Spencer, April 16, 2011; Army 1st Sgt. Tyler Groschick, Yukon, Nov. 13, 2011; Army Spc. James E. Dutton, Checotah, March 31, 2012; and Army Sgt. Allen R. McKenna Jr., Noble, Feb. 21, 2012.

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