Medra Dobbins had never attended Brookfield’s Memorial Day service before but, having lost her husband, Army vet Charles Dobbins, on Feb. 26, she felt compelled to do so this year.
“I was very touched,” she said, after her husband’s name was read during the ceremony, along with of 45 other men and women with Brookfield/Masury connections who had served in the military and who had died in the past year.
Dobbins said she knows of several other deceased vets’ families who did not attend. They should be invited to future observances, she said.
“I thought it was very well organized and I feel everyone in our community would enjoy the service plus
pay tribute to our loved ones that have been lost,” Dobbins said.
The event, put on by the Brookfield Rotary Club and Brookfield trustees, honors those who have served,
but Elwood Walker, who served in the Marines in Vietnam, noted that the day is not about them or any of
the other people who are called heroes these days.
“Memorial Day is not about honoring veterans,” he said during his keynote speech. “It’s about honoring
those who have lost their lives serving our nation.”
The veterans who attend Memorial Day services are not there for themselves, Walker said.
“Those of us who came home, we especially have an obligation to honor those who fell defending it,” he
Walker recounted that that defense may be made in any number of ways. For Jim Prommersberger, whom Walker went to Marine boot camp with, it was made by entering a Vietnamese battlefield and retrieving the bodies of wounded Marines “until he, himself, was killed.”
Lance Cpl. Stanley Sliwinski, after whom a portion of Route 82 in Brookfield is named, was killed in the
1983 car bombing of a Marine barracks in Beirut, one of 220 Marines, 18 Navy personnel and three Army
soldiers who perished.
Part of Route 7 in Brookfield is named for Ginny Kirsch, a Red Cross volunteer killed in Vietnam.
“Although her death was not the result of enemy action, it does not diminish her sacrifice,” Walker said.
Promiseberger, Sliwinski and Kirsch are true heroes, he said.
“To me, someone who is a hero is someone who went above and beyond the call of duty, or paid the
ultimate sacrifice,” Walker said.
This year’s service was a tradition returned, as the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out an in-person
observance in 2020 in favor of a virtual one, said Trustee Dan Suttles. But, he said, circumstances should
never keep America’s communities from noting this day in some fashion.
“I was reminded by our 2020 speaker, Lt. Col. Jonathan Sawtelle, that, no matter what the circumstances,
including a global pandemic, we should never forget to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for
our beloved country,” Suttles said.
Brookfield/Masury vets who have passed away since Memorial Day 2020:
Harry W. Bartolin, Army World War II era.
Larry D. Bartolin, Army, Vietnam era.
Peter D. Berecek, Air Force Reserves.
Fred Bremick, Army, Korean era.
George S. Chomos, Army, Vietnam era.
Jay M. Curry, Army, World War II era.
Lester Custer, Army.
Bart R. Deneen, Navy, World War II era.
Raymond A. Derda, Army, Vietnam era.
John M. Detelich, Air Force, Vietnam era.
Charles W. Dobbins Sr., Army, Vietnam era.
James C. Elliott, Army, World War II era.
Frank J. Fani, Army.
George E. Fielding, Army, Korean era.
Wade J. Foltz, Army Reserves, Vietnam era.
Joseph J. Fordeley, Army, Korean era.
Thomas Garzan, Army, Korean era.
Edward Gibowicz, Army, Korean era.
Burnett A. Goodemote, Air Force, Korean era.
James E. Jefferson, Army, Vietnam era.
Albert E. Klaric, Army Reserves.
Bob Kushner, Army, Vietnam era.
David Lowry, Army, Vietnam era.
Milrod Lunich, Army, Korean era.
Eugene Malandro, Army Reserves.
Richard L. McBride, Army, Korean era.
Joseph K. McCarl, Army, Vietnam era.
George Alan Meckler
Donald “Butch” Meszaros, Army, Vietnam era.
Pasquale A. “Patsy” Nicastro, Army, World War II era.
John Allen Parobek, Army, Vietnam era.
Charles Clinton Peavy Jr., Army, National Guard.
Kenneth Poto, Army.
David A. Rimer, Air Force Reserves, Vietnam era.
Bryan P. Roth, Navy.
John “Jack” Shaw, Navy, Korean era.
Ronald E. Simco, Army, Vietnam era.
Joseph Sivulich, Army, Vietnam era.L. H. Pete Steele, Navy.
Charles G. “Chick” Thompson, Army, Vietnam era.
Branvie Vuich, Air Force, Korean era.
Martin F. Weisenborn, Navy, Vietnam era.
James N. Winwood, Army, Vietnam era
Cay Marie Wolfinger, Air Force, Vietnam era.
Samuel L. Wood, Army, Korean era.
Joseph Zagorec, Army, Vietnam era