Veterans at the Chicora Honor Roll are,
L-R: Fred Callihan, Mike McNallen, Gary Fennell, Don Olsen, Lt. Gen. John F. Sattler.
The annual Memorial Day program in Chicora was held on May 31st. Fred Callihan, one of the event organizers, said, “This year’s celebration may have been the best ever.” Callihan noted that there were over 70 units in the parade, with 50 antique cars, two Conestoga wagons, tractors, fire engines, and scout units, and more.
Amy Cannard, sang the National Anthem to start the program at the Honor Roll, who later sang a moving rendition of the military taps.
The Master of Ceremonies for the program at the Honor Roll was Robert Ripper, and the guest speaker was Lt. General John Sattler, U.S.M. retired. Lt. General Sattler gave remarks and ended with a special presentation to Gary Fennell, who earned the Bronze Star Medal, with Distinguishing Devices and the Navy Commendation Medal with Distinguishing Devices. On two separate occasions, Fennell acted with heroics in connection with operations against insurgent communist (Viet Cong) forces in the Republic of Vietnam while serving as Hospitalman/Corpsman with Company B, First Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division. His heroic actions took place on October 10, 1967, and March 17, 1968.
Fennell’s daughter, Rhonda Roudebush, also presented her father with a wooden flag and read aloud the poem, “That’s My Daddy”.
The ceremony also involved the reading of the names of all the area's deceased veterans of the past year. Special recognition was given to John Kaylor and Richard Shoemaker, both men were heavily involved in the Memorial Day program in Chicora for many years. This year, in their memory, they were named Parade Marshalls.
The Chicora Memorial Day event also serves as a time for reunions for military men and women.
The Chicora Moose provided a lunch for local veterans and their families, where a display case of Fennell’s medals was on display, along with photos and the framed certificates of Fennell’s citations.