By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
It won’t be long before you will see members of the Shinnston Lions Club lining Pike Street in the community’s downtown area with American flags.
This is a service they offer for nearly every holiday, but the upcoming recognition of Veterans Day is an especially important one to the club. For the past 11 years or so, the Shinnston Lions Club has handled all the arrangements for a Veterans Day parade in Shinnston.
“Although we are aware that other cities host parades on this day, we wanted to host one locally, particularly to honor our own local veterans. Each year we invite a few of our local veterans to serve as our parade marshals, and other activities that follow the parade are geared toward honoring them for their service to our country and all of us as U.S. citizens,” said Shinnston Lions Club President David Minor.
The local parade is scheduled for next Saturday, November 11th, beginning at 11 a.m. Lineup for the parade will take place on old high school hill above the Veterans Memorial.
“Unfortunately, considering the time of year, many are hesitant to participate until the last minute for weather-related reasons. But we are pleased to say that it looks like we have lots of participation this year – thus far about 30 entries,” Minor added. “We are hopeful that the weather will be cooperative so that we have a good spectator turnout as well.”
All Lions Clubs are service oriented, and although the Shinnston Lions Club participates in supporting the global efforts of Lions Club International, it strongly concentrates on maintaining a community presence. In addition to erecting flags in the downtown area for holidays and community events, the club also gives scholarships to local students, supports the NJROTC and local community sports teams; they offer assistance to those who need help purchasing eyeglasses and hearing aids; they host an annual pancake breakfast to help with community endeavors … and of course they continue with their mop and broom sales.
Minor stressed, “We invite and encourage everyone to attend the parade this year. As always, the celebration on this day in Shinnston is a cooperative effort of our Lions Club, the Bice-Ferguson Museum, and the American Legion & its Ladies Auxiliary. Immediately following the parade, everyone is invited to the American Legion Post #31 site for a program arranged by the Museum that will honor our parade marshals and give them an opportunity to speak about their service. The Lincoln High School Choir under the direction of Julie Channell will perform a few selections, and a meal is also provided by the American Legion’s Auxiliary which is free to everyone attending. All of this is open to the public. We hope that everyone will come out and help us celebrate Veterans Day and honor our local veterans.”
This year’s local Veterans Day parade marshals include: William C. “Bill” Matheny, Thomasina Scudere, Herbert Richardson, and Chris F. Spagnuolo.
William C. “Bill” Matheny was a sergeant in the US Marine Corps; he served during the Korean War from 1951 to 1954.
Born and raised in Shinnston, Bill says that he always attends or participates in the local Veterans Day parade and is deeply appreciative of being asked to serve as a parade marshal this year.
He graduated from Shinnston High School in 1950 and he and a friend went to Clarksburg’s old Post Office to sign up to serve in the Marines. They were put on a bus headed for Huntington, WV for their physical examinations. There, he said, an old sergeant told him he did not meet the weight requirement; he weighed only 128 pounds at the time and needed to weigh at least 130.
“He reached into his pocket,” Bill recalled, “and handed me one dollar. He told me to run across the street to the grocery store and buy some bananas, eat them and come back. When I stepped on the scales later, he said I ‘had the makings of a Marine!”
He went to boot camp training in Paris Island, South Caroline and then on to Camp Pendleton, CA where we went to school to learn about telephone switch boards and radios. He was then assigned to an artillery outfit 105 Howitzers where he learned to be a forward observer and direct fire on to a target. After a year, he began training other new recruits in those two fields.
“We had to stand watch on the radio and switch board, but I finally wired the two together and we only had to stand one instead of two watches, so they made me Buck Sgt. for that,” he said.
When volunteers were called for to go overseas, he volunteered and they sent him to an old Army base at Mt. Fuji in Japan. He recalled that when the weather was just right, he could hear and see the smoke from artillery firing.
As his service time was about to expire, he was sent to Treasure Island in San Francisco. He was lucky enough to make it back home for Christmas in 1953 and was discharged in January of 1954.
Bill stayed in California, married, bought a home and went into business (a glass shop). Fifteen years later he returned to West Virginia and opened Shinnston Glass & Mirror. The longevity of his business (48 years), which is still open to this day, is a testament to the kind of work he does. He has no plans to retire – yet!
Mr. Matheny was married to his late wife Janet for 32 years; he has one son Bill and his wife Nancy of Shinnston, one daughter Vickie Grooms of Shinnston, 4 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.
Captain Thomasina E. Scudere is a native of Enterprise, the daughter of James and Elizabeth Scudere. A graduate of Lincoln High School, she enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve in 2004 and received her commission from West Virginia University Army ROTC in 2006 upon completion of a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Engineering.
She also received an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Intelligence Operation Studies with a Concentration in Counterintelligence from Cochise County College in 2010 and a Master of Science Degree in Engineering Management from Florida International University in 2011.
Her military education includes: Basic Combat Training, Modern Army Combatives Level 1 Certification, Basic Officer Leadership Course Phase II, Military Intelligence Basic Officer Leadership Course, Air Assault School, Counterintelligence Special Agent Course, School of Cadet Command Instructor Training Course, Military Intelligence Captain’s Career Course, Civil Affairs Qualification Course, and Basic Airborne Course.
CPT Scudere’s previous assignments include: Team Chief for the 407th Civil Affairs Battalion in Arden Hills, MN (2017) with a rotation to the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany and for the 478th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne) in Miami, FL (2014-2016). She served in the Joint Intelligence Directorate of Joint Task Force Guantanamo in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as the J24 Department Head, the J22 Technical Exploitation Cell Projects Officer, and as a Special Agent with the Counterintelligence Field Office (2012-2013). Prior to deployment, she was a platoon leader in A Company (2011-2012), the Command Language Program Manager in Head Quarters and Head Quarters Company (2010), and a Tactical Counterintelligence Team Leader in B Company (2009) at the 260th Military Intelligence Battalion (Linguist), Miami, FL. She concurrently held a Full Time National Guard-Operational Support assignment with the Florida Army National Guard 11th Recruiting and Retention Battalion at Florida International University (2009-2010).
CPT Scudere’s first assignment as a commissioned officer was in the G2 Section of the 42nd Infantry Division TAC II in Staten Island, New York. As a cadet and a Private First Class she was assigned to 4th Platoon of the 363rd Military Police Company in Grafton, West Virginia.
CPT Scudere’s awards/decorations include: Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal (4th Award), National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with “M” device, Army Service Ribbon, Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon, Airborne Badge, and Air Assault Badge.
Thomasina is currently in the Active Guard Reserve Program with 104th Training Division assigned to United States Army Cadet Command as an Assistant Professor of Military Science in Milwaukee, WI. She was recently promoted to the rank of Major.
She intends to pursue a Master Arts Degree in Public Service to further her education.
Lieutenant Colonel (ret.) Herbert Walter (Herb) Richardson III served for over 30 years as an enlisted man and as an officer with the US Army, US Army Reserve and the West Virginia Army National Guard.
A graduate of Shinnston High School, Herb graduated from Fairmont State College with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and was commissioned as an infantry officer from the Reserve Officer Training Corps. He served in a variety of leadership positions, mostly with Special Forces and Special Operations units, concluding as an Operations Officer with Special Operations Command – Europe, Stuttgart Germany.
His overseas assignments included the Persian Gulf, Haiti, the Balkans and two tours in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, two Meritorious Service Medals, two Joint Service Commendation Medals and several other awards. He earned the Combat Infantryman Badge, Special Forces Tab, Ranger Tab, Military Freefall Jumpmaster Badge, the Royal Thailand Air Force Skydiver Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Russian Parachutist Badge, Pathfinder Badge and the Air Assault Badge.
Herb is a life member of the Shinnston American Legion Post #31 where he has served in a variety of positions and is currently the Vice Commander for the Department of West Virginia. He has spent the last 15 years working as a contractor for the Department of Justice and the Department of Defense specializing in identity intelligence, biometrics and forensics. He is currently a Systems Engineer for the MITRE Corporation supporting the FBI in Bridgeport and will graduate in May 2018 with a Master of Science degree in Software Engineering from WVU.
He resides in Shinnston with his wife Kavin, a Registered Nurse; they have three grown children – Joel, a financial planner for Northwestern Mutual Financial in Clarksburg; Jason, a financial manager for the Mylan Corporation; and Maggie, an elementary school teacher in Lexington, Kentucky. He is the proud grandfather of four grandchildren (two sets of twins) with another grandchild on the way.
Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Chris F. Spagnuolo is the son of Ralph and Viviane Spagnuolo of Haywood Rd., Shinnston. A graduate of Lincoln High School, Chris attended West Virginia University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering.
Upon attaining a USAF ROTC commissioning in 1987, he entered Undergraduate Pilot Training at Reese Air Force Base in Texas. His first operational assignment was to the 27th Tactical Air Support Squadron at George AFB in California. While there, he flew the OV-10 “Bronco” as an Airborne Forward Air Controller (FAC).
One year later he was reassigned to the 20th TASS at Shaw AFB, SC., again performing FAC duties in the Bronco. During the winter of 1991, he deployed with the United States Army’s 2nd Armored Division as a Battalion Air Liaison Officer, controlling air strikes for the Army in support of Operation Desert Shield/Storm.
Post hostilities, Chris transitioned to the F-15E “Strike Eagle”, and in 1992, reported to the 336th Fighter Squadron (FS) “Rocketeers” at Seymour Johnson AFB, Goldsboro, NC. After four and a half years, Lt. Col. Spagnuolo was assigned a remote tour to Khamis Mushayt, Saudia Arabia where he performed duties as an F-15S Instructor Pilot.
After one year in the deserts of Saudi, Chris reported to the “Dice Men” of the 90th FS at Elmendorf AFB, AK, again in the “Strike Eagle”. Three years in Alaska resulted in another assignment to Seymour Johnson AFB, to the 334th FS “Eagles” as a Fighter Training Instructor.
Lt. Col. Spagnuolo ended his USAF career while stationed at Seymour Johnson AFB in the winter of 2007. His USAF career culminated as a Command Pilot, amassing over 4,000 hours of flight time in the T-37, T-38, AT-38, OV-10, F-15E and F-15S aircraft.
His awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal – 1 Oak Leaf Cluster, Aerial Achievement Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award – 8 Oak Leaf Clusters, Combat readiness Medal – 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, National Defense Service Medal – 1 Device, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal – 2 Devices, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Air Force Overseas Ribbon – Short Tour, Air Force Longevity Service – 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon – 1 Device, Air Force Training Ribbon, Kuwait Liberation Medal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Kuwait Liberation Medal Government of Kuwait.
Chris still resides in Goldsboro, NC, flying as a corporate pilot for a private firm out of Georgia. He and his wife Michelle have two sons, Vincent and Dominic.
Veterans Day falls annually on November 11th, the anniversary of the signing of the armistice, which ended the World War I hostilities between the Allied nations and Germany in 1918. First called Armistice Day, Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, but it was not until 1938 that it became a national holiday. Spend this holiday this year attending the recognition of local veterans in Shinnston on Nov. 11th! Our military are men and women of honor and commitment … and knowing that those whom they have served and protected appreciate their sacrifice will mean a great deal. Thank them by listening to what they have to say about their experience!