Hall of Heroes to induct 13 on Sept. 9

The Laurens County Veterans Affairs Office firmed up its plans for this year’s Hall of Heroes induction ceremony at a recent meeting.

The Hall of Heroes ceremony is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9 at Clinton High School. About 15 veterans are to be inducted this year and featured at the Hall of Heroes at the Laurens County Hillcrest Complex.

Clinton resident Charles Roland, 71, is among those to be recognized for his service. Roland served as a U.S. Army combat engineer in Vietnam.

Roland and his fellow combat engineers recently held a 50th-anniversary reunion at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., remembering the three of them that were lost during an ambush at Del Tang.

“It was very moving and very uplifting,” Roland said.

The Hall of Heroes induction is another chapter in an emotional anniversary year for Roland.

“I think it’s really awesome for me because when we first came home from Vietnam, we got no welcome or anything like that. We even got spit on – ‘what are you doing over there? Killing little kids and stuff?’ he recalled. “It was like, ‘get out of here; nobody wants to talk to you.

“Now, I’ve got 17- and 18-year-olds coming up to me saying, ‘thank you for your service.’ It’s very uplifting.”

Lonnie Owens, Jr. will be inducted into the Hall of Heroes posthumously. Owens, a U.S. Marine who served in Vietnam and Clinton resident, died in February, and his son, Tyrez Owens wanted to make sure his father was recognized.

“He was always talking about the Hall of Heroes,” said Owens, 21. “That’s why I wanted to be sure I made it to this meeting today.”

Owens’ family has put together the shadow box that will be on display along with the other inductees for a year beginning in September, and his name will be added to the county’s Hall of Heroes.

“He will live forever that way,” Owens said.

Here is a list of this year’s inductees:

Lowell Bartley, Michael Carbonneau, Micheal Dunkin, Larry Jones, Larry Lawson, Paul Nichols, Lonnie Owens, John Michael Reeder, Maxie Reeder, Charles Roland, James R. Smith, James Templeton and Sam Waddell.

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