Local Veterans To Be Honored At Luncheon Following Parade
By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
The Shinnston Lions Club will once again host a Veteran’s Day parade in Shinnston. Through the years, the club has been attentive to keeping this event completely in tune with the observance of the signing of the armistice – beginning the activities on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. However, this year, Veteran’s Day happens to fall on a Sunday, and club president David Minor noted that it would inappropriate to hold a parade during hours when church services are being held. So this year’s festivities will be held on Saturday, November 10th.
As has become a tradition, the program that will immediately follow the parade is a cooperative effort of the Shinnston Lions Club, the Bice-Ferguson Museum, and the American Legion Post #31 Ladies Auxiliary. The program will be held at the American Legion Post Home in Shinnston after the parade, at which time this year’s parade marshals will be honored and a luncheon will be served thanks to the generous participation of the Ladies Auxiliary. Museum Director Steve Glass will serve as emcee.
This year’s parade will feature four local veterans: John DeMary, William Hayhurst, Charles “Chuck” Skinner, and Kenneth Yost.
John DeMary grew up in Enterprise, the son of the late Salvador and Joann DeMary. He graduated from Shinnston High School with the Class of 1952 and later graduated from Duquesne University’s School of Pharmacy.
John was inducted into the Army in January, 1957 and completed his basic training at Fort Jackson, SC. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on his last day of basic training. He was transferred to Fort Sam Houston, TX with other medical personnel for orientation of military policies and procedures.
Lt. DeMary’s next assignment was at Hood, TX with the 2nd Army Missile Command that was being organized there due to a need for a field hospital. John was the Commanding Officer of the 487th Medical Company which operated a 100-bed field hospital. His last assignment on active duty was as Chief Pharmacist of the Fort Hood Army Hospital.
Following active duty, John joined the Active Army Reserve of Clarksburg and was promoted to the rank of Captain. The reserves attended weekly meetings and had summer training at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Later he remained in the inactive reserve unit of the US Army.
He and his wife Kathryn reside in Shinnston and have two grown sons.
William Hayhurst was born in Boca Raton, FL where his father was serving in the US Army. He later returned to Oakdale and grew up among extended family. He is a graduate of Shinnston High School with the Class of 1963 and continued his education at Fairmont State. He was drafted into the US Army in 1965 and completed his basic training at Fort Knox, KY.
Shortly after Christmas, 1965, he traveled to Ft. Sill, OK to join “A” Battery 6th Battalion, 16th Artillery with a cannoneer “MOS”. In April, 1966, he reported to “C” Battery 6th Battalion 16th Artillery as one of its 120 men to be deployed to Vietnam. William arrived in Qui Nhon, Vietnam on June 17, 1966 and was transported to AnKhe (Camp Radcliffe) which became his base camp for almost a year.
He received medical training and became his battery’s medic. He recalls that in December 1966, his outfit was overrun by two battalions of Viet Cong, after which he cared for the wounded and got them evacuated.
Hayhurst served one year and one day in Vietnam, and after three weeks at home, he went to Fort Hood, TX to compete his military service time.
He received the Vietnam Service medal with two Bronze Service stars, National Defense Service medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign medal, Presidential Unit Citation medal for extraordinary heroism plus the Expert Rifle medal along with the rank of E-4. His service ended in 1967.
Following his military service, William competed his education thanks to the GI Bill and received an AS and BS degree in Engineering Technology.
Charles “Chuck” Skinner graduated from Lincoln High School with the Class of 1979. He joined the Army in November, 1984, and completed his basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO.
He served his first six years as a Heavy Equipment Mechanic and his final 14 years as a Career Counselor.
Some of the duty stations where he served included: Ft. Campbell, KY, Pioneer Kaserne, Hanau, Germany, Ft. Drum, NY, Ft. Wainwright, AK, and Ft. Lewis, WA.
He served in both Desert Storm and in Somalia.
Skinner retired from the Army in February of 2005.
Kenneth E. Yost was the son of Earl W. and Virginia N. Yost; he graduated from Shinnston High School in 1966 and attended Fairmont State and Salem Colleges, as well as WV Career College, earning an Associate Degree in Accounting and Business Management. He was also schooled at the Institute of Financial Education in Chicago and Almeda University, earning a B.S. degree in Business Administration.
Kenneth entered the US Army in May of 1968, taking Basic Training at Fort Knox, KY and AIT medic and lab training at Fort Sam Houston, TX before being deployed to Vietnam in December of 1968. He served with the First Infantry Division, 44 Medical Brigade and 257 Medical Detachment in Dian Vietnam, returning in December of 1969. He was assigned to USA Dent CO MEDDAC, Ft. Benning, GA as a Removal Prosthetics Specialist, earning the rank of Specialist Fifth Class and receiving an Honorable Discharge in May of 1971.
Kenneth earned a National Defense Service Medal, two O/S Bars, Army Commendation Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, and was awarded Civil Actions Honor Medal Second Class by the Republic of Vietnam while volunteering with complete disregard for personal safety to provide medical and dental care in remote hamlets and ARVN outposts to ARVN troops, their dependents, school children and orphanages in Thu Duc District.
Kenneth and his wife Carolyn reside in Shinnston where they raised three children who have given them seven grandchildren. Through the years, he has been involved with the Boy Scouts, Shinnston Little League, 4-H, FFA, the Shinnston High School Alumni Association and Foundation, and MUWV. He is a member of American Legion Post 31 and is active in the Oakhurst Church of Christ in Farmington.
The Shinnston Lions Club and its partners invite the community to attend the Veteran’s Day parade in Shinnston on November 10th, beginning at 11 a.m. to offer thanks to these gentlemen and all veterans who have honorably served in the military, protecting and defending our country and its citizens. Parade attendees are also encouraged to attend the luncheon following the parade.
Those interested in participating in the parade (mobile and/or walking, marching units) are asked to please contact Lions Club president David Minor at 304-844-6078. Lineup will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Sat., Nov. 10th on old high school hill.