The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Patriotic vein runs deep in Roosevelt County

 

November 9, 2017



As eastern New Mexico gears up to honor its veterans this weekend, Mike Woolley is one person who wonders why remembering those who serve in the military doesn’t happen all year long.

He’s in a good position to ask.

Woolley — retired United States Air Force Col. Michael S. Woolley, that is — is a Portales native who spent 36 years in service to the nation. He’s been a junior vice commander and trustee of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars, and is also a member of the American Legion.

“Some people know of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month being Veterans Day,” Woolley said. “Everyone knows Memorial Day because it is a three-day weekend of what is considered the start of summer, but few knew Memorial Day is a one-day dedication for those who made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Woolley proposes that those two holidays are not enough.

“I believe honoring and remembering are directly joined at the hip to our freedoms,” he said. “It is easy to watch TV and believe the never-ending array of ‘crap’ about our freedoms being threatened, but our country should sleep well knowing that someone’s son or daughter is out there making sure their freedoms are being protected.”

Our area has a long history of military sacrifice, Woolley said.

“For 100 years our Roosevelt County veterans have been at the forefront of either war or preventing war,” he said. “Our forces have been in Europe since 1944, Japan since 1945, Persian Gulf since 1948 and Korea since 1950. Demographics of Roosevelt County have changed, but the deep veins of patriotism have been, are, and will be written in history.”

Woolley has been one of the driving forces behind a memorial display at the Portales VFW, one that will soon have a couple of new additions: A World War I uniform being donated by Juanita Fox and her sister Frances Lee, as well as a photo of the Fox family siblings — six brothers all from one family — who served in World War II.

Woolley would love to have more local memorabilia for that wall. “We are looking for a WWII, Korean War, and Vietnam uniform of a Roosevelt County veteran that we can display with the WWI uniform,” he said. “If they have pictures of veterans with names, our plans are to display them on the wall with the uniforms.”

He also encourages locals to participate in the events being held Saturday. The Portales Veterans Day ceremony, sponsored by American Legion Post 31, is at 10:30 a.m. at the Memorial Building, 200 E. Seventh St., and American Legion Post 25 in Clovis is hosting a breakfast for all veterans from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. at 2400 W. Seventh St.

And one more thing we can all do every day: “When you see a young man or woman in uniform,” Woolley said, “don’t be afraid to go up and thank them for their service.”

Betty Williamson is a grateful citizen. You may reach her at:

pepnm@hotmail.com

 

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