by Bill Boyle
Veterans Day was marked with solemn services and remembrances throughout San Juan County. I love the trend over time of increased efforts to remember and thank veterans for their service.
A number of groups and organizations in the area work hard to document and honor those who have served and particularly those who have paid the ultimate price.
As a result, impressive Veterans Memorials are found in Monticello and Blanding, and other efforts across the county honor the men and women who serve.
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We recently received an email from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Faces project. They are working to find photos of every single member of the military who was killed in the line of duty in the Vietnam War.
I was pleased to read that they have found photos of every serviceman from the Four Corners region who was killed in action.
In fact, photos have been gathered for all but 405 of the more than 58,000 names honored on the Vietnam Memorial.
The missing photos are primarily of service men and women who were from New York and Florida.
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Last week, as we pulled together our tribute to those who had been killed in action, we were able to find photos of 29 of the 43 names on our list.
But the list may not be complete. Brenda Sturdevant, who has initiated significant research into the veterans from San Juan County, provided an additional 19 names who were not listed on our database.
Her sources include the San Juan Record, Monticello Military Journal, Military Records of Grand and San Juan counties, and other private histories.
I hope that we are able to gather information on these names and hear their stories.
This is not an insignificant challenge. Very few of the newly-listed names can be found on the TogetherWeServed.com website, which aims to list and honor everyone who was killed in the line of duty. It may be due to misspelled names or other mistakes in the records.
An additional issue is those who may have had limited interaction in San Juan County but who have some connection to the area. Of course, they should be honored and remembered, even if their time was limited in San Juan County.
An example is James Earl Thode, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2010. Thode lived in Farmington, NM and was assigned to serve with the local National Guard Unit. He is an honored member of the San Juan County community.
Please contact us if you have a photo of the following individuals: Arthur Hurst Rogers, John Paul Kimmerle, Benjamin Lee Fitzgerald, Ray Ivie, Charley Carroll, Robert Arnold Cromwell, Alma Robert Mangum, Malin Clyde Dalton, Horace Robertson Argyle, Stewart A. Burnham, Glen Peterson, Emil Emander Fincher, David Henry Henderson, and Hernan Garcia.
Please provide information, remembrances, or photos about the new names that were submitted by Brenda Sturdevant.
They include: Gerald Burnham, Wendell P. Jones, Gerald Shumway, Rex E Barton, Harold S Bradshaw, John M Duckett, John P. Merle, Leroy M Pullman, Billie W Whitley, Oscar E Cleaveland, Loys Duncan, Albert Manger, Merle E Newell, Ernest M Ritchie, J.M. Scharf, Gordon Shields, Richard C Stewart, Scott A Stidham, and Glen Taylor.
If you provide information, we will pass it along to the volunteers who are documenting these servicemen.