Members of the Texas Veterans Day Parade Board hosted their 2020 awards ceremony Monday, Dec. 21, at the First Baptist Church in Corsicana and via zoom. Bill McNutt, Founder and Chairman of the parade committee acted as emcee for the evening.
Hershel Woody Williams, a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient who saw action in the Pacific during World War II, joined via zoom and thanked board members for their dedication to veterans and for their willingness to be involved with the Gold Star Families Monument. Williams plans to return to Corsicana next year to dedicate the Gold Star Family Monument in May of 2021.
Williams, a native of West Virginia, received a Purple Heart as well as the Congressional Medal of Honor following his actions during the Battle of Iwo Jima in February of 1945.
Navarro County Judge HM Davenport read Williams’s Medal of Honor Citation.
Felix Acree, spoke about his father, Jim Acree, a Korean War Veteran who also led the Corsicana Tigers to the 1963 Texas 3-A State Football Championship. The Jim Acree Award is presented to the volunteer of the year who did not serve in the military.
Liz Brown, was named the 2020 recipient, of the Jim Acree Award. Brown was characterized by Joe Hill, U.S. Navy Ret. and CEO of the Veterans Parade, as being “consistently positive and hard working in the face of our successes and disappointments.”
Brown thanked the Board for the honor, saying she looked forward to continuing.
“I really do love doing what we do.”
The night’s second award, named after former Texas Governor Buford Jester, was awarded to the volunteer of the year with military service experience. Kathy Meisetschleager, who served in the U.S. Air Force Nurse Corps.
Joe Hill was presented the award by Hill who noted her eagerness to promote the group’s activities in all forms of media including traditional and social-media platforms.
“This has been a great experience,” said Meisetschleager.
She said she is looking forward to all of the group’s events next year.
Buford Jester, grew up in Corsicana attending Harvard Law School before leaving to serve in the Army as a Company Commander in World War One. Jester served as Texas Governor from 1947 to 1949.
The night’s events closed with Pastor Danny Reeves, reading about the life of Jose Antonio Navarro, the namesake of Navarro County, and a signer of the Constitution of the Republic of Texas.
Reeves also read from the Medal of Honor Citation of Corsicana native Candelario “Spider” Garcia, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 2014, for conspicuous acts of gallantry performed in Lai Khe, Republic of Vietnam on Dec. 8, 1968.
The Veterans Day Parade is expected to be held on Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 15, 2021.