Walker Fun Days Friday evening and Saturday Sept. 16-17, lived up to its name providing fun for those attending. At the opening ceremony, the United States flag was raised by veterans-Larry Buckles, Ronnie Moyer, and Phil Thompson, who led in the Pledge of Allegiance. Lillie Gerster sang a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem. Walker Community Betterment Association president, Raye Swopes presented Larry Buckles with a flag in honor of him serving in the Viet Nam War. Buckles graduated from Walker High School in 1963. He served in the army in Korea in 1967-1968. He got his draft notice Dec. 3, 1966 and was inducted January 29, 1967, along with three other WHS graduates, Arthur Stephens, Delbert Johnston and LeRoy Hill.
Buckles was asked to drive a bus in Korea. While there, he got a call from the American Red Cross saying that his daughter, Kim, was born.
Later in 1967, he became a transportation officer, and handled the mail.
In February of 1968, he got a letter from his mother saying that Arthur Stephens was Missing in Action in Vietnam. He again got a call from the American Red Cross, and this time it was bad news. Arthur had been killed in action. He was asked to be a military escort to return Arthur’s body home.
A Ferry Funeral Home representative met them in Kansas City. Buckles had to go before the casket and be with it when any family member was present. The Military Funeral Service was held at the National Cemetery at Fort Scott, Kansas.
“None of this was a pleasant experience,” Buckles said with emotion, “but the hardest part was when the Honor Guard gave me Arthur’s flag off his casket, and I had to look my sister in the eye and say, This flag represents…”
Buckles always says. “I am proud to be recognized as a veteran, but the name I want you to remember is Arthur Stephens. He gave his all for our country. Thanks, Larry—and Arthur for your service.
State Representative Patricia Pike presented resolutions of appreciation to the Grand Marshalls-Mike and Kathy Newman, Susan and Phil Thompson and Debbie Jensen.
Debbie Jensen is involved with Women Who Explore Kansas City, Perfect Pets Animal Shelter, and the Missouri State Parks Passport Challenge. Debbie and Susan also volunteer with The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Debbie, Susan and Kathy, who are sisters, volunteer at the Washington Family Hope Center in Joplin. They work together to assist in many of the projects of the Walker Community Betterment Association in Walker to better the community.
Susan and Phil Thompson of Walker, Missouri, volunteer with the Walker Community Betterment Association, where Susan serves as vice president. Phil volunteers with the Elks organization in Nevada and has received the national lifetime volunteer award for serving over 4,000 hours. Some of his involvement include the drug awareness program, local steak feed, Christmas basket program, hoop shoot, trunk or treat, and the veterans committee. Phil is also a U.S. veteran and retired national guardsman. Susan and Phil have one son, Chase.
Mike Newman serves on the Walker City Council and is a proud member of the Northeast Vernon County School board. He also serves the Osage River Baptist Association on the Kamp Keirsey committee. Mike and Kathy attend and volunteer at the Schell City Baptist Church serving as Sunday School teachers as well as working with the Youth and Children’s ministry, who for the past several years have taken pride in helping with the Walker Park flower beds. They also are involved with music programs at Joe Clark nursing home in Nevada each month. Mike and Kathy live in Walker, Missouri, have a son, Brad, and a daughter, Kayla, and nine grandchildren.
Mayor Harold Walters presented Raye and Clint Swopes each a Citizen of the Year Award for the many things they do to assist the Walker Community. Clint serves on the Walker City Council and can be seen around town at almost any time helping in whatever needs to be done—and Raye is usually helping him. She serves as president of the Walker Community Betterment Association and was everywhere making sure Fun Days went smoothly.
We appreciate our helpful community members. Without them there would be no Fun Days.
Afterwards, the WCBA sponsored a loaded baked potato feed. Brenda Denny Rhodes presented a wonderful gospel music show and was sponsored by the Walker Christian Church, and a movie in the park at dark.
I will deal with the Saturday of Walker Fun Day in my Country Connections column.
In other news, Breanne Willson came Friday and attended Fun Days with her grandparents, Gilbert and Eleanor Willson. Sunday, Breanne and Gilbert provided a party for Eleanor and Kelsey Bailey’s birthdays. Mikel Bailey joined them for ice cream cake.
Raye Swopes, Walker Community Betterment Association (WCBA) president, presented Larry Buckles with the veteran recognition award.
The hours that our local Walker Post Office are open are 7:45-11:45 Monday through Friday and 7:30 to 9:30 on Saturday. The lobby is open 24 hours a day to pick up your mail from a post office box. 465-2250 is the post office number.
For rental of the Walker Community Building, contact Walker City Hall 417-465-2230, or Susan Thompson at 1-417-661-0144.