Guard asks county to honor Vietnam vets


AEP officials say transmission line proceeding on schedule

By Tim Colliver - tcolliver@aimmediamidwest.com



Retired Air Force Col. Ronald Sampson (left) and Gerold Wilkin of the Highland County Veterans Honor Guard met with commissioners Wednesday asking for official recognition of March 29 as Vietnam War Veterans Day. They also asked that March 30 be proclaimed as a day to honor PFC David McConnaughey and Cpl. James Waulk Jr., who were the first and last soldiers, respectively, from Highland County to die in Vietnam.

Retired Air Force Col. Ronald Sampson (left) and Gerold Wilkin of the Highland County Veterans Honor Guard met with commissioners Wednesday asking for official recognition of March 29 as Vietnam War Veterans Day. They also asked that March 30 be proclaimed as a day to honor PFC David McConnaughey and Cpl. James Waulk Jr., who were the first and last soldiers, respectively, from Highland County to die in Vietnam.


Tim Colliver | The Times-Gazette

Members of the Highland County Veterans Honor Guard requested that the Highland County Board of Commissioners recognize Friday, March 29 as National Vietnam War Veterans Day during the commissioners’ meeting Wednesday.

“I want recognition to be given to these individuals and I’d like the county commissioners to participate in this,” Honor Guard representative Gerold Wilkin said. “We would also like to see the addition of two names placed upon the monument that is at our county memorial.”

The individuals Wilkin spoke of, according to Highland County Veterans Service Outreach Coordinator Stephanie Roland, are PFC David McConnaughey, who is listed with a military home of record as Lebanon in Warren County, but who was actually from Hillsboro.

“Corporal James Waulk Jr. is originally from the Greenfield/Rainsboro area, but his military home of record is listed as being from Washington Court House, because that’s where he and his wife were residing when he enlisted,” Roland said.

Wilkin told commissioners that the Highland County Memorial Committee would engrave the names of both men into the veterans’ monument located behind the Highland County Courthouse.

Commissioners agreed to participate in a ceremony honoring the 10 local service personnel who died in the Vietnam War at noon on March 29, and that the next day McConnaghey and Waulk would be recognized with a proclamation as those who, respectively, were the first and last soldiers from Highland County to die in the war in Southeast Asia.

In 2017, President Trump signed the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act, designating March 29 as a day “to ensure the sacrifices of the nine million heroes who served during this difficult chapter of our country’s history are remembered for generations to come.”

The observance of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War will continue through Veteran’s Day 2025, which marks the official end of the war with the fall of Saigon to communist forces from North Vietnam in 1975.

Also Wednesday, Commissioner Terry Britton said that at a meeting held Tuesday, American Electric Power officials assured him and Highland County Engineer P. Dean Otworth that construction of a new electric transmission line in Highland County was proceeding on schedule, with a tentative completion date of Dec. 13.

Britton also reported that the Paint Valley Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board (ADAMH) was awarded grant funding of nearly $574,000 to be distributed between the four counties served by the organization.

The grant is designed to further address the opioid drug issue, he said, and would also play a role in the new drug court under Highland County Common Pleas Court Judge Rocky Coss.

Commissioner Gary Abernathy said that he and his colleagues attended a recent Ohio Farm Bureau presentation regarding the proposed construction of a pair of solar power generating farms in southern Highland County.

The meeting was so informative, he said, that it was their intention to invite the principal speaker to address a future meeting so he could answer questions from local concerns.

Abernathy also reminded everyone of the next Ohio Power Siting Board meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, March 19 from 6-8 p.m. at Whiteoak High School in Mowrystown.

The meeting is intended to hear public comment regarding the proposed 300-megawatt Hecate solar power generating farm planned for construction in southern Highland County, north west of SR 321, between Buford and Mowrystown.

In other matters, murals that the Highland County Historical Society deemed historically valuable were removed from the Colony Theatre prior to its demolition, and commissioner Jeff Duncan said that local resident Avery Applegate has been contacted to restore them.

During a meeting last week with both Coss and the historical society, Duncan said that Coss expressed interest in placing two of the murals in his courtroom, and that a contractor had been contacted to study how to install them.

“These murals are large, bigger than I thought they’d be,” Duncan said. “They measure 11 ½ feet tall by eight feet wide, and the judge thought two of them in particular would go along with the theme of the judicial process.”

In a meeting held Tuesday, Ducan said officials from the Village of Mowrystown told him they are continuing to struggle with the village’s sewer system and assessments, and following the meeting agreed to further discuss the issues at a later time with commissioners.

Three bids were opened for the purchase of box culverts for future county road construction projects.

Mack Industries submitted a bid for almost $144,000, Cooper’s Excavating of Winchester had a bid of nearly $122,000 while the lowest bid submitted came from Lindsay Precast in the amount of $106,504.

Duncan said all of the bids will be subject to review by Otworth.

Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.

Retired Air Force Col. Ronald Sampson (left) and Gerold Wilkin of the Highland County Veterans Honor Guard met with commissioners Wednesday asking for official recognition of March 29 as Vietnam War Veterans Day. They also asked that March 30 be proclaimed as a day to honor PFC David McConnaughey and Cpl. James Waulk Jr., who were the first and last soldiers, respectively, from Highland County to die in Vietnam.
https://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2019/03/web1_Sampson-Wilkin.jpgRetired Air Force Col. Ronald Sampson (left) and Gerold Wilkin of the Highland County Veterans Honor Guard met with commissioners Wednesday asking for official recognition of March 29 as Vietnam War Veterans Day. They also asked that March 30 be proclaimed as a day to honor PFC David McConnaughey and Cpl. James Waulk Jr., who were the first and last soldiers, respectively, from Highland County to die in Vietnam. Tim Colliver | The Times-Gazette
AEP officials say transmission line proceeding on schedule

By Tim Colliver

tcolliver@aimmediamidwest.com