Tag Archives: Tom LaBerge

Veterans Day 2014 … honoring all who served

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Dr. Rob Marsh and Pastor Greg Mayo

By Lynn R. Mitchell

“Greater love hath no man than this: that he lay down his life for his friends.” –John 15:13

The older gentleman slowly made his way to the front of the banquet room to the sound of applause from the crowd of more than 300 gathered to honor local military veterans. It was the day set aside for them, and in this gathering he was one of three left standing in the “over 90” group of vets — he was 93 — in the “who is the oldest veteran” recognition. What he revealed to the crowd brought everyone to tears.
He was, he said, one of the first soldiers on Omaha Beach that long-ago day in 1944 in the invasion that saw thousands of Allied forces killed.

In September an invitation was extended from a friend whose church decided to honor local military veterans on Veterans Day:

Thank you for serving our country and protecting our freedoms!

On Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11, Cornerstone Church of Augusta is hosting a Veterans Day Banquet at 6:30 p.m. Our guest speaker is Dr. Rob Marsh, former Delta Force Medic. Tickets are free for veterans and a guest.

By the time Veterans Day rolled around, all 300 tickets had been distributed with a waiting list of dozens. Our friend, who was on the committee that organized the event, obtained permission so I could write about the dinner and take photos.

We picked up two neighbors who rode with us to Cornerstone Church of Augusta in Fishersville. One is a Korean War veteran (see Korean War vet survived behind enemy lines), and the other is the widow of a Vietnam War Army tunnel rat who passed away in June (see Passings: Honoring a Vietnam Veteran and Husband, Neighbor, Friend, Military Vet: Saying Goodbye).

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Korean War vet survived behind enemy lines

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Tom LaBerge, Veterans Day, 11-11-2014

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Saturday’s Veterans Day parade in downtown Staunton, Va, saw many families lining the streets to wave American flags and cheer as floats passed by filled with local veterans. The community honored past and present military members including many who vividly remember the details of war.

One of those local veterans is a quiet, unassuming gentleman, slightly stooped with graying hair. Until last year, few people knew that he had suffered life-threatening injuries during the Korean War.

Now in his 70s, Tom LaBarge (pronounced La-BARGE) does not like to bring attention to himself. That was very evident as he reluctantly gave in to my persistent prodding to talk about his military service after a surprise presentation in 2009 of war-time medals that had been long overdue. Four of his seven grown children had flown from Minnesota to Virginia for the event, and I had been invited by his wife Millicent to join them.

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