BIC honors veterans
Buffalo Island Central East Initiative, under the direction of Jill Sanders, honored area veterans with a ceremony and luncheon on Friday, Nov. 9, at the Mustang Athletic Complex.
BIC EAST created a Buffalo Island Veterans Hall of Fame in 2015 with local veterans added each year.
This year's Buffalo Island Hall of Fame recipients are Marie George (Yeoman E-3 Navy WAVES) and Senator David Wallace (Army Retired Lt. Col.). Videos featuring George and Wallace, created by the EAST students, were presented.
George served with the U.S. Navy WAVES, Women Accepted for Voluntary Enlisted Service, from October 1960 to October 1962. She was a yeoman or secretary for four naval officers as well as a school librarian at the Naval Intelligence School in Washington, D.C She later obtained her teaching degree from Arkansas State University on the GI Bill and continued her public service as an art educator for 26 years with four of those being in the Monette School District. She is a member of the Monette American Legion Post 136 and currently resides in Lake City with husband, Bob, of 56 years.
Wallace flew Cobra helicopters in the Vietnam War and spent a total of 21 years in the United States Army. He was decorated for heroism seven times: three Distinguished Flying Crosses, an air medal for valor, and three Crosses of Gallantry as well as 19 additional air medals for flying combat missions and a Bronze Star for Meritorious Service. His unit, Task Force Gary Owens, received the Presidential Unit Citation which is the highest unit award to be presented for heroism for units. David and his wife, Karen, have been married 50 years and they have two grown children. They reside in Leachville. He is now serving as state senator.
In his video tribute, Wallace said every day he was in Vietnam he thought about Leachville and his family and had a yearning to come back home.
“I have never found a place I would rather live or raise my family,” he said. “We are lucky to live in America.”
They join Sergeant James Butler (2015); Private John Paul Masner (2016); Seaman First Class Claud Barnett, Sr., Specialist E5 Gary Romec, and Corporal Arthur Phelps (2017) as members of the Buffalo Island Veterans Hall of Fame.
Guest speaker for the day was Corporal Aaron Cagle, 2009 BIC graduate, Marine veteran, and now an Intelligence Research Specialist for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Cagle is the son of Rudi and Deanna Cagle of Leachville and has been married to his wife, Shelby, for five years. She is also a BIC graduate.
Cagle spoke about his time in the Marines, his training and his service. Valedictorian of the BIC Class of 2009, he joined the Marines during his senior year.
He said the military provides skills and opportunities.
“The military provides the opportunities but you have to earn it,” he said.
After his service in the Marines, he went on to earn a Bachelor's Degree at the University of Arkansas with the GI Bill.
Dickie Pace talked about the American Flag and what it stands for.
A veteran tribute video was presented by Taylor Cole and Destiny Hawkins featuring area veterans sharing their service memories.
Billy Brown, Brody McFall, Leo Perez, Marshall Clark and Harris McCord sang Song for the Unsung Hero. The BIC choir sang the National Anthem and the BIC Band played a salute to all branches of the military.