Madison County area Memorial Day services

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(Posted May 22, 2014)

The following Memorial Day ceremonies and services will take place in and around Madison County.

London

London’s United Veterans Organization will host Memorial Day services May 25-26. The organization includes Amvets Chapter 19, Disabled American Veterans Chapter 93, American Legion Post 105 and Vietnam Veterans Chapter 746.

On May 25, services are set for 1 p.m. at Paint Township Cemetery, 2:15 p.m. at Deercreek-Lafayette Cemetery, and 3 p.m. at Summerford Cemetery.

On May 26, veterans and members of the London High School band will assemble at 10 a.m. at the entrance of Oak Hill Cemetery. The ceremony will start at 10:15 at the statue.

A second program will take place at 11 a.m. at the veterans monument outside the Madison County Courthouse. Preston Lowe, a retired military serviceman and member of DAV Chapter 93, will speak. Afterward, the group will assemble at Kirkwood Cemetery for the final memorial tribute.

After all of the ceremonies are complete, veterans, their families and guests are invited to an open house at American Legion Post 105, 51 E. First St. Refreshments will be served.

Mount Sterling

Mount Sterling American Legion Post 417 will lead a memorial service at 10 a.m. May 26 at Pleasant Cemetery on Cemetery Road. The Madison-Plains High School marching band will perform. A second short service will immediately follow at Mount Sterling First United Methodist Church. The Rev. Michael A. Berne will speak.

Plain City

Plain City’s Veterans of Foreign Wars Darby Post 3268 and American Legion Post 248 and the Ladies Auxiliaries will host a Memorial Day parade May 26.

The parade will form at the old Plain City Elementary on West Main Street from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Those who wish to participate in the parade are asked to decorate accordingly and be ready to leave the school promptly at 9 a.m. The route runs east on Main Street then south on Chillicothe Street, stopping at old Darby Township Cemetery to salute veterans there. The parade will then proceed to the bridge crossing over Big Darby Creek, where a ceremonial bouquet will be tossed in the water in memory of those who perished at sea.

The route will end at Forest Grove Cemetery where a program will take place. Airman First Class James Sawo with the 121st Air Refueling Wing is the guest speaker. Sawo was born in Liberia, West Africa. At the height of the civil war, his mother brought him and his three siblings to the United States.

Since then, Sawo has worked diligently on becoming a role model and leader for his family and friends. He served as the student body senator at Bucks County Technical High School in Philadelphia, Pa. Following high school, he studied business administration at Bucks County Community College and served as the student government president.

Looking for better opportunities, Sawo transferred to The Ohio State University in the fall of 2011 and began his double major in economics and political science. To add to his studies, he has since served countless hours of community service. He is president of his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. Kappa Chapter, and is a mentor with the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Columbus.

Sawo enlisted in the Ohio Air National Guard in 2012. He serves as part of the National Guard’s Speaker Bureau and diversity outreach committee. He plans to graduate in December of 2014, after which he will study environmental and energy law at Capital University starting in the fall of 2016.

For additional information, contact Bernie Vance at (614) 570-2962.

South Solon

The South Solon Community Organization will hold a Memorial Day parade to honor fallen soldiers for their commitment to the country and their legacy of patriotism and sacrifice.

The parade is set for 2 p.m. May 26 at Community Park. R. David Picken will serve as grand marshal. The Springfield Detachment of the Marine Corps League will lead the parade, followed by the Madison-Plains High School marching band led by Director Derek Scoles.

A short ceremony will follow the parade at the entrance to South Solon Cemetery. The Plain City mayor will honor Picken, and State Rep. Bob Hackett will speak. The Marines will close the ceremony with a 21-gun salute and the playing of “Taps.”

West Jefferson

West Jefferson American Legion Post 201 will host a breakfast from 7 to 9 a.m. May 26 for veterans, Madison County fire and law enforcement personnel, and West Jefferson village workers. The post is located at 9701 W. Broad St.

At 10:30 a.m., Sts. Simon and Jude Church will conduct a service to honor veterans. The church is located at 9350 High Free Pike NE. All are invited to attend.

At noon, a ceremony will take place at Pleasant Hill Cemetery. The guest speaker is Daniel R. Eakins, veterans program administrator for the Ohio Department of Veterans Services.

Eakins is the son of Christyne and Douglas Eakins of West Jefferson. He graduated from West Jefferson High School in 1994 and from Miami University in 1998.

Motivated by the Al-Qaeda attacks on Washington and New York on Sept. 11, 2001, he resigned his position with the Ohio Department of Administrative Services and enlisted in the United States Army, earning his commission through Army Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Ga. He served as a tactical intelligence officer and a tank platoon leader at Fort Riley, Kansas. In 2005, he was deployed with his platoon to Baquba, Diyala Province, Iraq, as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom III where he led more than 300 combat patrol missions.

In 2008, Eakins joined the Ohio Army National Guard’s 216th Engineer Battalion. He commanded the Hadquarters Company through civil relief operations in Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav. His company earned the Best Small Unit Award in the Ohio Army National Guard out of more than 100 similar sized units.

Eakins currently serves as the executive officer for the 112th Engineer Battallion of Brook Park. Through his 11-year military career, he has earned promotion to the rank of major and has been decorated six times for meritorious service, including the Bronze Star for combat service in Iraq.

Eakins began his service with the Ohio Department of Veterans Services began in October 2009 as coordinator for veteran programming, having since served in gradually expanding roles as director for policy and legislation and now as the state veterans programs administrator.

For more information, call the Legion post at (614) 879-9126.

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