Rotary Honors Veterans for their Service

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Tuscaloosa Rotary Honors Veterans for their ServiceIn one of the most compelling programs in recent memory, last week the Rotary Club of Tuscaloosa dedicated the hour to honoring our Club’s living veterans. The program opened with a formal color guard, and special music by James Seay of First United Methodist Church (pictured left), who sang “God Bless America” to open the ceremonies.


A series of speakers and tributes followed. Past President Jim Shamblin announced that Rotarian Stan Bloom, decorated veteran of the Second World War and a long-time leader in Tuscaloosa Rotary, was granted honorary lifetime membership of the Club’s Board.  Stan joined Tuscaloosa Rotary in 1949 after serving in World War II in Germany. He was Club President in 1973-74 and founder of the Tuscaloosa Rotary Memorial Foundation. He and his wife Star were recently honored with the naming of the Bloom Hillel Center on the UA Campus.


Tuscaloosa Rotary Honors Veterans for their ServiceRotarian Pat Connor, himself a decorated veteran, offered a brief history of Veteran’s Day and its purpose. Rotarians Lee Banks, Don Alverson and Frank Deaver then walked us back through time, so to speak, sharing their experiences as veterans of Iraq, Vietnam and Korea, respectively. Lee Banks told a harrowing tale of his experience as a logistical support leader for the 3rd Infantry Division in Iraq. Don Alverson (pictured right) recounted his experiences as an Airman over Vietnam. He also noted, as an aside, how much the treatment of America’s veterans has improved since that era. Frank Deaver concluded the presentations with a reflection on his service in Korea. Frank served as a SCARWAF (“Special Category Army Reassigned With Air Force”), with an engineering unit charged with maintaining and repairing  a network of small airstrips for fighters and reconnaissance craft in the area. He arrived late in the war (properly, Deaver noted, it was a “police action”) and it ended soon after. “When they heard I was on the way,” Deaver explained, “they decided to quit.”


Tuscaloosa Rotary Honors Veterans for their ServiceThe program concluded when Rotarians were treated to a brief excerpt from an award-winning newscast put together by WVUA’s Terri Brewer, wife of Rotarian Sam Brewer. Terri’s “Stories from Honor Flight” recounted the history and the impact of Tuscaloosa Rotary’s participation in the Honor Flight Program, an initiative led by Rotarian Jordan Plaster. The video segment told the story of A.J. Hollingsworth, whose brother went on the 2010 Honor Flight as a guardian—and in meeting other veterans, found out vivid details of his brother’s death.



For a clip from the video, visit



Special thanks again to all of our Veterans for all of their sacrifice and service, and to all of the Rotarians and others who helped make last week’s meeting such an appropriate tribute!

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