Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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April 30, 2014

Cedar Creek group hosting golf event honoring veterans

Corsicana — The Cedar Creek Veterans Foundation is honoring our nation’s military by hosting a Golf Classic May 12 at the Pinnacle Golf Course in Mabank benefitting The Fisher House, Hope for the Warriors, and the Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society. The men and women who serve honor their duty to our Country, and as Americans, our responsibility to them is to never forget their sacrifices and applaud their bravery and commitment to us.

 Each of the honorees this year wore a different uniform, but they all possess a common thread, in wearing the hats of patriotism they are the custodians of our freedoms and we are in their debt.

Yeoman 1st Class Andrea Jean (McCallum) Small, one of nearly 400,000 women to take on roles in the military during World War II worked as a secretary in Washington D.C., remembering vividly the shock and emotion surrounding the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor. She witnessed the flag-draped coffin pulled by a horse-drawn caisson traveling down Pennsylvania Avenue carrying the body of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Jean and her husband, Joe, settled in the Corsicana area to raise their three sons.

Pinnacle resident, Ed DeLoach, enlisted in the United States Navy in 1951, serving as an Electronic Technician aboard the USS Kearsarge and deploying on two combat tours in the Korean War zone in support of air operations over the Korean peninsula. As a member of the crew, he received the National Defense Service Medal, the United Nations Service Meal, the China Service Medal, and the Korean Service Medal with two stars. He transferred to the USS Hancock and supported operations testing of an advanced new system for launching carrier-based aircraft until his honorable discharge in 1955. As a sidebar, while in the Far East, Ed and most of the crew appeared in a scene during the filming of The Caine Mutiny and The Bridges of Toko-Ri, rubbing elbows with the likes of Humphrey Bogart and William Holden but he says his “movie career was very short…about five minutes.”

Sgt. Major Robert (Bob) Blatnik entered the U.S. Army in 1938 and was with the 1st Battalion, 26th Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, Big Red 1 during his entire military career ending in 1945. He served under General Teddy Roosevelt, Jr. during the invasion of North Africa, the Tunisian campaign, and the invasion of Sicily under General George Patton. He was in the first wave of soldiers during the invasion of Normandy, advancing through France and Belgium. Battalion Sgt. Major Blatnik has been awarded four purple hearts, the Silver Star, five Bronze Stars, and numerous other commendations. He was one of six Normandy veterans from Texas selected to participate in the return to Omaha Beach last summer, sixty-nine years after D-Day. At ninety-three years of age, he walked a heartrending journey across a quarter of a mile of sand to the exact spot where he was one of nine hundred men “storming the beaches.” He continues to search for the answer as to why he survived and so many did not. His legacy is in his journey and the memories he shares with those fortunate enough to be within earshot.

Chief Master Sargent Dwayne Garner, currently residing in Brownsboro, came from a poor family of sharecroppers. Raised “on the Trinity River” near Trinidad, he graduated from Malakoff High School, joining the Air Force in 1954 and assigned to the supply career field. His first duty assignment was in Germany supporting reconnaissance missions over Communist countries. Part of his military career was spent on Strategic Air Command bases throughout the U.S. and overseas. In Thailand, he was the non-commissioned officer in charge of requisition, storing, and issuing bombs and other munitions to fly thirty-three missions daily over Viet Nam. Senior Master Sargent Dwayne Garner served his last duty assignment in the Philippines retiring after twenty years of service with the Bronze Star Medal, two commendation medals, and the Presidential Unit Citation. After leaving the military, he worked as an adult probation officer in Henderson County for twenty years and since retiring from that position volunteers for different military organizations. Often the seeds of duty are sowed early as in Dwayne’s case. His uncle served during World War I in the horse cavalry, his two brothers serving in World War II, one in Europe as a Medic, and the other in the Pacific theater, Korea, and Viet Nam.

All of these extraordinary human beings fail to see themselves as heroes, only as everyday servants doing their jobs for our Country. It is a privilege to be in their company.

The golf tournament is slated for Monday, May 12 at the Pinnacle Golf Club, 20 Pinnacle Club Drive in Mabank. The format is a four-person scramble with full handicap. Registration opens at 7:30 a.m. and the shotgun start begins at 9 a.m. $300 secures a four-person team of your choosing. Alternatively, for $75 per person, a team will be assigned. $500 includes the golf team, a sponsorship sign on a golf hole and at the “Thunder Over Cedar Creek Lake” air show. Cost includes lunch and an awards ceremony following the tournament. Checks should be made payable to C.C.V.F (Cedar Creek Veterans Foundation) Individual tickets for lunch only are $25 per person.

For more information please contact Gayle Robinson by email at genegayle111@yahoo.com or by telephone at 903-451-5054, or Elaine Bownes at jrbownes@embarqmail.com or by telephone at 903-451-3820.

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