The Star Democrat

Galena honors Briscoe, Blake in Veterans Day ceremony

- BY MACKENZIE BRADY mbrady@thekentcou­ntynews. com

GALENA — They did not wait until the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, but this morning veterans, their families, community members, and students from Kent School gathered at St. Dennis cemetery in honor ofVeterans Day.

Also present at the ceremony were Dels. Jay Jacobs, R-36-Kent, and Steve Arentz, R-36-Queen Anne’s; a representa­tive from Congressma­n Andy Harris’ office; members of American Legion Post 246 in Betterton; and Galena Council members Sarah Merrell and Tyler Carpenter.

“As you look across every year and see the folks gathered here with us, you see ever changing faces. Some old with us, pass on and we honor them, and some new vets that are coming out to serve their country, and we honor them as well and appreciate their service everyday,” Galena Mayor John Carroll said in his introducti­on.

The announced honoree at this year’s ceremony was former Galena Mayor William Briscoe, a World War II Army veteran of the European Theatre. He served with the 109th Infantry, 20th Division.

Briscoe died April 2, 2012 at 95 years old. He is buried in the St. Dennis cemetery.

Bill Blake was the guest speaker who introduced Briscoe. He spoke of Briscoe’s involvemen­t in the community.

“You would see all kinds of cars,” Blake said of people stopping by Briscoe’s house to visit with him. “People would stop and ask him about this, that and the other, talk about old times. And he was always willing to do that.

“One way or the other, he served until the end of his life,” Blake said.

Following Blake’s introducti­on was guest speaker Royce Ball with the Mid-Shore Recovering­Veterans Group.

During his speech, Ball spoke of the history of veterans, naming each war American soldiers have been a part of throughout United States history. After each war mentioned, Ball said, “We have not forgotten, we will never forget.”

Ball not only thanked veterans for their service and also their families, “for supporting them in their efforts.”

“On this day, here and now, let us honor these brave individual­s, past, present and those who will follow, letting them know that we have not forgotten, and we will never forget,” Ball said.

Carroll then announced that there would be a second honoree at the ceremony.

Mike Heffron, post commander for American Legion Post 246, introduced the second, surprise honoree saying, “If you don’t know the person I’m going to introduce and talk about, I don’t know where you’ve been. He truly is amazing.”

The second honoree was Blake.

“You rascal,” Blake said when his name was announced.

Blake enlisted in the U.S. Navy at 17 years old and

served from 1961 to 1965. He also served in the Merchant Marines with the Sun Oil Co. from 1965 to 1967.

While in the Navy, Blake served on the USS WASP CV-18, one of the first ships to create a naval blockade at Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

At the end of his service, Blake was honorably discharged as a petty officer 3rd class.

“Mr. Blake has been a lifelong servant to the community,” Heffron said in his speech. “Mr. Blake’s lifelong dedication to service, to county, the county and the community is deeply appreciate­d.”

Blake had no idea he would be honored at the ceremony.

“A real important thing to remember, it’s not just one guy. None of that stuff was one guy,” Blake said during his second speech.

Blake said people did not have to serve in the military as long as they serve in their communitie­s and give back what they have been given by others’ service.

Carroll presented Blake with a potted peace lily.

Two Kent School student volunteers placed the wreath by Briscoe’s headstone with his family and Carroll.

Briscoe’s family thanked those involved.

 ?? PHOTO BY MACKENZIE BRADY ?? Bill Blake introduced Veterans Day honoree William Briscoe, a WWII Army Veteran at the Galena Veteran’ Day ceremony Nov. 11.
PHOTO BY MACKENZIE BRADY Bill Blake introduced Veterans Day honoree William Briscoe, a WWII Army Veteran at the Galena Veteran’ Day ceremony Nov. 11.
 ?? PHOTO BY MACKENZIE BRADY ?? Two Kent School students volunteer to place the wreath on William Briscoe’s headstone. They were accompanie­d by Mayor John Carroll (right) and Briscoe’s family.
PHOTO BY MACKENZIE BRADY Two Kent School students volunteer to place the wreath on William Briscoe’s headstone. They were accompanie­d by Mayor John Carroll (right) and Briscoe’s family.

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