By Brandon Martin
Multiple veterans were honored at the 2020 Veterans Awards ceremony held during the Nov. 24 meeting of the Henry County Board of Supervisors.
Lt. Col. David King received the 2020 Outstanding Military Veteran Award.
King began his military training at the Virginia Military Institute before joining the Army. He has since led the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) programs at Bassett, Patrick County and Tunstall high schools.
“Most of what I learned as a lieutenant, I learned from soldiers and particularly the non-commissioned officers. My platoon sergeant told me that nobody earns an award on his own and that is certainly true,” King said. “The other thing he told me is that you’ve got to live up to your promotions, awards and anything like that every day. I do my best to do that so thank you all.”
The Outstanding Military Veteran Award was created in 2009. Debra Buchanan, of the Horsepasture District, suggested it to honor county veterans.
With the support of Martinsville City Council, the award was expanded in 2013 to include nominations from the city. The award winner is selected by a committee of county and city representatives and the Veteran’s Service Organization (VSO).
“This selection represents the best of what service to our country and to our community means,” Buchanan said.
Representatives from the VSO honored other community members that have been instrumental in promoting veteran causes.
David Kipfinger, commander of American Legion Pannill Post 42, presented the VSO Veteran of the Year Award to Charles Williams, who served as lineman in the signal company during the Vietnam War.
“Upon his separation from the military, he returned to the Martinsville-Henry County area and has served the community with honor and distinction,” Kipfinger said. “He is a member of many organizations in the area where he serves in many leadership positions. His objective is to challenge himself to be the best he can be with the talents and abilities that God has given to him so that he can advance successfully in the field he has chosen to work in.”
“This is quite an honor for me because there are people out here that deserve this a whole lot more than I do,” Williams said. “Coming from the veterans, I really do appreciate it. Thank you so much. It’s quite an honor.”
Two awards, normally presented on Memorial Day, were also presented during the Nov. 24 ceremony.
Thomas Spencer, commander of American Legion Homer Dillard Post 78, presented an award to Destinee Spencer in recognition of her grandfather, David Spencer.
David Spencer was “in numerous organizations,” according to Thomas Spencer. Some of his associations included his position of vice-commander of Post 78, his involvement with the Veterans Honor Guard of Martinsville and Henry County, and his work with Veterans of Foreign Wars Post Ford-Stewart 4637.
David Gilleran, commander of Post 4637, accepted a similar award on behalf of the family of Darrel Peay.
“Darrel was a member of the American Legion, AMVETs (American Veterans), DAV (Disabled American Veterans), and the Veterans of Foreign Wars,” Gilleran said. “He served honorably in Vietnam. He was Veteran of the Year in 2008. This will remain with us for a while until we are able to get it to their family.”
S.T. Fulcher, of Post 42, recognized Sharon Mills with a Certificate of Excellence for her support of the VSO.
“What I do is so insignificant to what each of you have done as a veteran to serve this country,” Mills said. “I’m humbled. Thank you very, very much for everything that you have done for this country. We appreciate it,”