Monday, December 10, 2012

Thomas Winkles named 2012 Legionnaire of the Year

American Legion Post Commander Buster McCoy awarded the Legionnaire of the Year honor to Thomas Winkles for answering the call of duty on numerous occasions and for his service to Post 186.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas: the festive Christmas tree anchored the holiday decorations done by Toots and Ed Hobson. With over three dozen gifts underneath, the tree looked like Santa had been to visit!

No military chow line ever served up food this good!
Greenville American Legion Post 186 celebrated Christmas with its annual Christmas dinner, gift exchange, and recognition award for service to the post.
   The legion building was festively decorated for Christmas by Toots and Ed Hobson. The dinner entrĂ©e, grilled chicken by Ray Steele, was accompanied by dishes made by some of the legionnaires and their wives. The meal was accompanied by guitarists Tim and Ernie King who sang Christmas and holiday songs.
   Post Commander Buster McCoy reflected on the many activities engaging the post in 2012: touring the Little White House Open House for Veterans, the Memorial Day Service in Manchester, the Iraqi Veterans’ Parade in Rome, Veteran’s Day Service, Veterans’ Parade in Manchester, sponsoring the 1953 B25 Memorial at Dowdel’s Knob. McCoy asked those present to raise their hands asking who could remember where they were on December 7th, seventy one years ago.
   A special plaque was given to the Post Legionnaire of the Year for service. McCoy honored Thomas Winkles for answering the call of duty on numerous occasions and for his service to Post 186.
   The evening’s activities closed with a gift exchange.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Honoring our Veterans

Camp Cecil Perkerson Veterans Club and Post 186 of the American Legion held an inspiring Veteran's Day Ceremony at Greenville United Methodist Church. Leading the ceremonies: Post Commander Buster McCoy, left, with the devotion given by Rev. Jan Oglesbee, closing remarks and benediction by Rev. Jonathan Porter, musical tribute by Mary Washington, and guest speaker, Assistant Commissioner of the Department of Veterans Services Dan Holtz. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

2011 Legionnaire of the Year: Larry Dunaway

This past December at the annual American Legion Christmas Party in Greenville, Larry Dunaway was named Legionnaire of the Year at Post 186, Camp Cecil Perkerson.

The Air Force Reservist earned the acclaim for a project he began two years ago that has had the full support and enthusiasm of the veterans group: the restoration of an Army Jeep.

Years ago, Donald Roberts had been encouraging Dunaway to go out into his pasture and rescue a Jeep from the many he had stockpiled there. When Dunaway was discussing it with Larry Whitlock, Steve Whitlock overheard and offered the old Jeep that had for years been behind the Sheriff’s Department. 

Dunaway went to look at it, and other than cutting out a tree that had grown up through its middle, thought the 1952 Jeep MA38A1 had possibilities.

“It might have seen service in Viet Nam,” but Dunaway can only guess as the Jeep appeared long ago during one of Sheriff Dan Branch’s terms of office, “but we just don’t know its history.”

Dunaway, who grew up in DeKalb County, often came to Meriwether to his grandfather’s farm. He knows his way around tools and motors: he attended Southern Tech studying Mechanical Engineering but got the best hands on experience in the Air Force Reserves for twenty three years. Seven years were as a technician at Dobbins which was akin to active duty.

He was in the First Gulf War under “Storming Norman” in a unit that operated C130’s out of the UAE. He later spent time in Central America in Honduras and Panama where they performed numerous civil engineering projects like helping build schools, clinics, and digging wells. “We knew we had given something when you brought running water to a community or it had a school thanks to your efforts" he said. 

Dunaway ran the Frisbee Golf Course on Highway 54 between Luthersville and Hogansville for years and put his engineering to work as he manufactured bags for athletes to carry their specialized gear and made portable scoreboards that he shipped to all parts of the world that held Frisbee Golf Tournaments.

As the industrial development began in the northern part of our county, he sold the farm and moved his grandfather’s farmhouse and outbuildings to Wilbur Keith Road. He added a garage/workspace like no other around.  This man cave is the envy of any mechanic, as it can hold dozens of cars and equipment and can even accommodate Dunaway’s 26 foot sailboat.

The two year restoration did not always go smoothly. The hardest challenge was the rust and parts would disintegrate with the turn of a wrench. But Dunaway got the engine running, redid the cooling system, and replaced anything with rubber parts or tubes that had decayed.

“The parts, pieces, and paint are readily available,” Dunaway pointed out, with Combat Cash on the Discovery Channel being a fount of information and military magazines having parts suppliers with many offering discounts or donating pieces to someone restoring military history. Dunaway is also a member of MVPA-Military Vehicle Preservation Association.

This last fall the jeep was pulled through the Veteran’s Day Parade in Manchester with the Greenville legionnaires riding proudly aboard.  In 2012 Dunaway will have the brakes redone and in driving shape for the parade. Ideally he would like to keep the Jeep under cover but on display and able to be used by the Legion, its owner.
This model Jeep has a maximum speed of about 40-50 mph and as a backup has manual windshield wipers.  It would have had a removable green canvas top and doors.

His “Barn Find” holds a special place in his heart as he grew up in the era of hearing rumors that you could buy Jeeps left from the wars that came in a box for $50 and they could be put together.  He always dreamed of doing so even though there really were no such buys. But he says  “this is my Jeep-my Barn Find” and labor of love that only took two or three hundred hours of restoration!

Dunaway prepares a display shelf with empty bullets casings found in the Jeep’s engine.