(Posted May 23, 2022)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Memorial Day ceremonies are taking place in communities throughout Madison County.
• Range Township
Range Township will hold Memorial Day services at 3 p.m. May 29, the day before Memorial Day, at Range Township Cemetery. Rev. Gordon Ell is the guest speaker. Readings and vocal performances also are planned.
• South Solon
The South Solon Community Organization is hosting a Memorial Day parade at 2 p.m. May 30. Parade participation is welcome; ride a bike, a lawn tractor, a historical car, or other mode of transportation, including walking. Lineup starts at 1 p.m. under the water tower at Community Park. The Springfield Detachment of the Marine Corps League will lead the parade followed by the Madison-Plains marching band.
Teddy Roosevelt, portrayed by Larry Marple, will address the company. A short ceremony will follow at the entrance to South Solon Cemetery. Veteran Eugene Reed will be recognized as the parade grand marshal. The Rev. Randy Barker is the guest speaker. The Marines will perform a 21-gun salute and “Taps” to conclude the ceremony.
• Plain City
The Plain City Veterans of Foreign Wars, VFW Auxiliary and Plain City American Legion will celebrate Memorial Day on May 30. The celebration begins with a parade forming at 8:30 a.m. at the old Plain City school at 340 West Main St. Step-off is at 9.
Lt. Colonel Mitch Gargac, United States Army retired, is the guest speaker. Gargac began his military career in 1985 when he enlisted in the Army, completing basic and combat engineer training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He served in Iraqi Freedom with the 16th Engineer Brigade as part of the 4th Infantry Division Task Force Iron Claw Counter IED mission.
Among Gargac’s awards and decorations are the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf clusters, Army Achievement Medal with two Oak Leaf clusters, Air Force Achievement medal, Global War on Terrorism medal, Iraq Campaign medal, Sapper Tab, Combat Action Badge and the Bronze Order of the de Fleury medal.
Gargac retired from active duty in 2012 with 26 years of military service. He resides in Galloway, Ohio, with his wife Monica and three children. He serves as the Madison County truancy officer for the county’s four public school districts.
The Memorial Day ceremony will include a flyover by the Air National Guard’s 180th Fighter Wing, based in Swanton, Ohio. The pilots of these F-16 fighter jets volunteer to participate in community events as a way to give back and honor those who have served and continue to serve.
American Legion Post 105 will hold a Memorial Day ceremony at 11 a.m. May 30 at the veterans memorial located on the Madison County Courthouse lawn in London. Phil Robinette, the Legion’s finance adjutant and color guard commander, will say a few words. A gun salute will end the ceremony. The public is welcome to attend.
On May 18, area veterans placed flags on veterans’ graves at the following cemeteries: Big Plain, Deercreek-Lafayette, Kirkwood, Oak Hill, Paint Township, Range, St. Patrick and Somerford.
• Mount Sterling
Mount Sterling American Legion Post 417 will host a Memorial Day ceremony at 10 a.m. May 30 at Pleasant Cemetery. Those who plan to participate are asked to assemble at the cemetery at 9:30. The Madison-Plains High School band will perform. The Rev. Dr. Karen Crawford of First United Methodist Church of Mount Sterling is the guest speaker. A salute will be fired to end the service.
Following the ceremony at the cemetery, a short service will take place at Veterans Memorial Park across from Mount Sterling Town Hall.
Prior to Memorial Day, Legion members will place flags on veterans graves at 6 p.m. May 26 at the cemetery. The public is invited to help.
• West Jefferson
American Legion Post 201 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7005 and their auxiliaries invite the public to attend a Memorial Day ceremony at 12 p.m. May 30 at Pleasant Hill Cemetery, West Jefferson. The Legion’s honor guard will provide a three-volley salute with rifles. The VFW will provide the color guard.
Bob Allen, a decorated Army officer who flew helicopters in Vietnam, is the guest speaker. The son of a career Army veteran, Allen grew up in the military way of life and traveled the world with his family. This upbringing provided the foundation for Allen’s passion for veterans and his work with veteran affiliated organizations.
Since 1975, Allen has been trained to be a counselor and “soul healer,” focusing on psychological and emotional issues relating to veterans. He co-founded Awakenings, an organization that promotes, cares for, and heals veterans through peer mentoring programs. He also is a public speaker on veterans issues.
After leaving military service, Allen flew as a corporate pilot for a few years before launching a career in higher education. Before retiring in 2013, he served for 34 years as the head of admissions and enrollment for private colleges and universities in Arizona, Florida, Missouri and Ohio. Currently, he assists Ohio’s Hospice as head of the American Pride Veterans care program.
Allen and his wife, Shari, live in Columbus. They have two adult children whose families live in the greater Columbus area.