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County honors fallen soldiers


Veterans Memorial

The Lorain County 98 were barely into manhood when they were called upon to give the ultimate sacrifice in a war that tested the strength of even the most devoted patriots — the Vietnam War.
They were sons and classmates, barely out of high school; young husbands and fathers, some who would never see their children.
They were supposed to be the area’s next farmers and merchants, doctors and lawyers who would strengthen the foundation of their communities for another generation.
Instead, their names ended up engraved on a long granite wall in Washington, a wall that honors the memory of American soldiers killed in the Vietnam War.
The last name on the wall, the last official casualty of the war, is that of Richard Vandegeer, who spent his childhood in Sheffield.
While we pause this Memorial Day weekend to honor and remember all of the men and women who have sacrificed their lives for their country, we pay a special tribute to the Lorain County soldiers who are among the 58,000 American soldiers killed in Vietnam.
Some of their stories are told in today’s edition.
Beginning at 6 tonight, the names of all 98 will be read, one by one, in a six-hour vigil on North Lake Street next to the Amherst Police Station, the site of the Lorain County Vietnam Veterans Memorial to be dedicated at a ceremony at 11 a.m. June 23.
 “We’ve held this vigil for 20 years, but this will the first year for it to be held at the memorial site,” said Don Attie, a Vietnam veteran and member of the Lorain County Vietnam Veterans Memorial Committee, a band of volunteers who in the last five years raised nearly $200,000 to erect the memorial.
“We will read every name every two hours until midnight,” Attie said.
The names of the war’s dead are currently being carved in a 4.5-ton granite block that is shaped like Lorain County by Milano Monuments in Brook Park, Attie said.
The memorial also features a
900-pound bronze flag that drapes over the stone and features an eagle.
More than 600 family members and friends of the veterans have reserved seats for the ceremony, Attie said.
 The program will include a helicopter fly-in by former Army Capt. Joe Schmitt of Brownhelm Township, who will deliver an American flag to the memorial site.
Schmitt served in Vietnam from 1965 to 1966 and logged 1,200 combat hours. He was awarded 13 air medals and was shot down three times but never captured, Attie said.
Charlie Sanchez, whose brother Angel Luis Sanchez was killed in action in Vietnam, said he was pleased that at long last his brother and others killed in the war will be honored with a local memorial.
“A lot of these guys never got the support they deserved,” Sanchez said. “I’m very grateful for what they’re doing.”
Reuben Ortiz Sr. also had a brother, Zeneido Ortiz Jr., who was killed in Vietnam.
“It’s great that we can finally show people in Lorain County what happened,” Ortiz said. “It should have happened a long time ago.”
Contact Bette Pearce at 329-7148 or

Dedication for the Lorain County Vietnam Veterans Memorial will take place at 11 a.m. June 23 next to the Amherst Police Department, on South Street, Amherst. For more information, call Ed Brill at 988-4550.

98 heroes - The Lorain County veterans killed in the Vietnam War:

Raymond Ellsworth Rupcic, Army
Born: 1/26/1942
Died: 4/6/1965  Age: 23
Hometown: Lorain

Fleming Bukey
Brainerd III, Army
Born: 12/31/1933
Died: 5/26/1965  Age: 31
Hometown: Amherst

Donald Raymond Bonko, Army
Born: 12/16/1936
Died: 11/26/1965  Age: 28
Hometown: Lorain

Matthew John Pechaitis, Army
Born: 6/24/1942
Died: 1/10/1966  Age: 23
Hometown: Brownhelm

Ronald Ralich,
Marine Corps
Born: 9/19/1946
Died: 5/29/1966  Age: 19
Hometown: Lorain

Thomas Reginald Cowley, Army
Born: 9/19/1946
Died: 5/29/1966  Age: 19
Hometown: Lorain

James David Smith,
Born: 9/8/1946
Died: 9/22/1966  Age: 20
Hometown: North Ridgeville

Cody Allen Balisteri, Navy
Born: 3/20/1941
Died: 10/26/1966  Age: 25
Hometown: Sheffield Lake

Raymond Hodorowski, Marine Corps
Born: 8/29/1945
Died: 3/6/1967  Age: 21
Hometown: Lorain

James Patrick Byrne, Marine Corps
Born: 11/17/1944
Died: 3/8/1967  Age: 22
Hometown: Sheffield Lake

John Herbert Snitch, Marine Corps
Born: 5/14/1947
Died: 3/15/1967  Age: 19
Hometown: Sheffield Lake

George William McDaniel, Army
Born: 10/21/1947
Died: 4/29/1967  Age: 19
Hometown: Lorain

Dennis Paul Bergenstein, Marine Corps
Born: 9/24/1945
Died: 5/3/1967  Age: 21
Hometown: Avon Lake
n Kenneth Charles Marley, Army
Born: 3/20/1944
Died: 5/13/1967  Age: 23
Hometown: Wellington

Jose Hector Ortiz, Army
Born: 1/9/1948
Died: 6/28/1967  Age: 19
Hometown: Lorain

Larry Fields, Marine Corps
Born: 11/16/1943
Died: 7/14/1967  Age: 23
Hometown: Lorain

Gene Arcaro White, Marine Corps
Born: 6/28/1945
Died: 7/21/1967  Age: 22
Hometown: Oberlin

Bruce Bernard Livingston, Marine Corps
Born: 12/9/1948
Died: 9/2/1967  Age: 18
Hometown: Lorain

Warren Taylor Scott, Marine Corps
Born: 4/7/1945
Died: 9/20/1967  Age: 22
Hometown: Oberlin

Jake Harold Van Meter Jr., Army
Born: 5/8/1943
Died: 10/7/1967  Age: 24
Hometown: Lagrange

Robert Joseph Nagy, Army
Born: 4/7/1947
Died: 10/17/1967  Age: 20
Hometown: Lorain

Davis Allen Jones, Marine Corps
Born: 5/9/1947
Died: 11/2/1967  Age: 20
Hometown: Wellington

Elbert Ford Price Jr., Army
Born: 10/15/1946
Died: 11/6/1967  Age: 21
Hometown: Eaton Township

James Calvin Whitmore, Army
Born: 10/18/1946
Died: 11/9/1967  Age: 21
Hometown: Elyria

Charles Douglas Sawyers, Army
Born: 11/11/1942
Died: 11/11/1967  Age: 25
Hometown: Sheffield Township

Hubert Jackson Payne, Army
Born: 10/5/1941
Died: 11/17/1967  Age: 26
Hometown: Vermilion

James Timothy Taylor, Marine Corps
Born: 6/22/1949
Died: 12/16/1967  Age: 18
Hometown: Grafton

Paul Douglas Strahm, Air Force
Born: 12/12/1943
Died: 1/14/1968  Age: 24
Hometown: Sheffield Lake

Paul Junior Myers, Marine Corps
Born: 6/11/1941
Died: 2/5/1968  Age: 26
Hometown: Lorain

Michael Drennen Milburn, Marine Corps
Born: 5/6/1947
Died: 2/6/1968  Age: 20
Hometown: Elyria

John Lyle Murphy, Marine Corps
Born: 5/3/1947
Died: 2/6/1968  Age: 20
Hometown: Sheffield VillAge:

Troy Tony Threet, Marine Corps
Born: 6/8/1947
Died: 2/10/1968  Age: 20
Hometown: Elyria

David Francis Schneider, Marine Corps
Born: 5/24/1946
Died: 2/14/1968  Age: 21
Hometown: Avon

George Wesley De Jarnett, Army
Born: 11/30/1942
Died: 2/29/1968  Age: 25
Hometown: Elyria

Brian Thomas Murray, Army
Born: 2/10/1947
Died: 3/5/1968  Age: 21
Hometown: Lorain

Charles Dale Flood, Army
Born:: 3/21/1949
Died: 3/10/1968  Age: 18
Hometown: North Ridgeville

Gary William Perkins, Army
Born: 3/5/1942
Died: 3/12/1968  Age: 26
Hometown: Wellington

Peter William Shagovac Jr., Marine Corps
Born: 7/20/1949
Died: 4/1/1968  Age: 18
Hometown: Lorain

Walter Michael Ostapchuk, Marine Corps
Born: 7/28/1945
Died: 4/5/1968  Age: 22
Hometown: Columbia Station

Donnie Stanley Kegg, Marine Corps
Born: 5/22/1948
Died: 5/1/1968  Age: 19
Hometown: Elyria

Billara Wolford, Army
Born: 4/1/1947
Died: 5/5/1968  Age: 21
Hometown: Sheffield Lake

Angel Luis Sanchez, Army
Born: 11/30/1945
Died: 5/22/1968  Age: 22
Hometown: Lorain

Earl Edward Barnhart Jr., Marine Corps
Born: 4/18/1948
Died: 5/25/1968  Age: 20
Hometown: Sheffield Lake

Johnnie Arnold Sheppard, Marine Corps
Born: 5/24/1948
Died: 5/31/1968  Age: 20
Hometown: Lorain

Michael Joseph Conrady, Army
Born: 10/17/1946
Died: 6/1/1968  Age: 21
Hometown: Sheffield Lake

Jack Gene Enix, Marine Corps
Born: 2/13/1948
Died: 6/6/1968  Age: 20
Hometown: Lorain

Norman Jones Jr., Army
Born: 11/30/1947
Died: 6/18/1968  Age: 20
Hometown: Elyria

John Lester Began, Army
Born: 4/10/1945
Died: 8/16/1968  Age: 23
Hometown: Elyria

Timothy James Cottrell, Army
Born: 2/25/1949
Died: 8/27/1968  Age:19
Hometown: Wellington

William Earl Foster Jr., Army
Born: 5/17/1943
Died: 9/12/1968  Age: 25
Hometown: Elyria

Calvin Kermit Coon, Marine Corps
Born: 6/13/1949
Died: 9/18/1968  Age: 19
Hometown: Elyria

Joseph George Ambrosio, Army
Born: 10/31/1947
Died: 9/27/1968  Age: 20
Hometown: Elyria

Robert James Barry, Army
Born: 7/19/1947
Died: 9/30/1968  Age: 21
Hometown: Lorain

Raymond Michael Enczi, Army
Born: 7/26/1948
Died: 10/31/1968  Age: 20
Hometown: Elyria

Patrick Edward Smith Jr., Army
Born: 5/10/1947
Died: 11/26/1968  Age: 21
Hometown: Avon

Zeneido Ortiz Jr., Marine Corps
Born: 9/2/1948
Died: 12/4/1968  Age: 20
Hometown: Lorain

John Anthony Kocak, Army
Born: 2/2/1945
Died: 12/19/1968  Age: 23
Hometown: Lorain

Ricardo Galvan, Marine Corps
Born: 11/13/1949
Died: 12/31/1968  Age: 19
Hometown: Lorain

Leo Allen George, Army
Born: 6/28/1948
Died: 1/5/1969  Age: 20
Hometown: Lorain

Jesse Leonard Ellis, Army
Born: 8/22/1948
Died: 1/29/1969  Age: 20
Hometown: Eaton Township

Raymond Joseph Baldauf, Marine Corps
Born: 12/13/1948
Died: 2/14/1969  Age: 20
Hometown: North Ridgeville

Wayne Edward Benge, Army
Born: 11/3/1947
Died: 3/16/1969  Age: 21
Hometown: Sheffield Lake

Richard Duane Orlando, Marine Corps
Born: 1/9/1948
Died: 4/27/1969  Age: 21
Hometown: Lorain

Kenneth Lawrence Dulley, Army
Born: 8/26/1940
Died: 5/6/1969  Age: 28
Hometown: Grafton

Edward Robert Tolley, Marine Corps
Born: 9/20/1949
Died: 5/12/1969  Age: 19
Hometown: Lorain

William Val Springfield, Army
Born: 5/7/1942
Died: 5/13/1969  Age: 27
Hometown: Elyria

William Keneith Word, Army
Born: 11/8/1948
Died: 5/28/1969  Age: 20
Hometown: Lorain

Gaylord Gerald Kerr, Army
Born: 12/3/1948
Died: 6/3/1969  Age: 20
Hometown: North Ridgeville

Robert William Witty, Marine Corps
Born: 7/29/1950
Died: 6/17/1969  Age: 18
Hometown: South Amherst

Donald Thomas Laskay, Army
Born: 3/19/1947
Died: 6/23/1969  Age: 22
Hometown: Lorain

Robert Charles Cameron, Army
Born: 9/7/1948
Died: 6/26/1969  Age: 20
Hometown: Elyria

Freddie Laws Daniel, Army
Born: 6/18/1945
Died: 6/27/1969  Age: 24
Hometown: Lorain

Wayne Stanley Horvath, Marine Corps
Born: 12/2/1949
Died: 6/30/1969  Age: 19
Hometown: Amherst

Roger Dale Lawson, Army
Born: 11/6/1949
Died: 7/18/1969  Age: 19
Hometown: Columbia Station

Robert Wendell Fletcher, Marine Corps
Born: 10/2/1948
Died: 7/28/1969  Age: 20
Hometown: Lorain

Richard Lowell Irvin, Army
Born: 8/6/1948
Died: 8/5/1969  Age: 20
Hometown: Sheffield Lake

Jose Antonio Carrion, Army
Born: 7/27/1947
Died: 8/7/1969  Age: 22
Hometown: Lorain

Michael Lester Brundage, Army
Born: 3/17/1944
Died: 8/14/1969  Age: 25
Hometown: North Ridgeville

Edgardo Rafael La Torre, Army
Born: 8/1/1949
Died: 8/20/1969  Age: 20
Hometown: Lorain

William John Anderson Jr., Army
Born: 6/5/1948
Died: 8/24/1969  Age: 21
Hometown: Sheffield Lake

Thomas Lynn Snyder, Army
Born: 5/26/1946
Died: 9/14/1969  Age: 23
Hometown: Amherst

Eddie Nelson Corsino, Marine Corps
Born: 10/18/1948
Died: 9/17/1969  Age: 20
Hometown: Lorain

Earl Eugene Charles, Marine Corps
Born: 7/9/1944
Died: 10/9/1969  Age: 25
Hometown: Lorain

John Dominick Arquillo, Army
Born: 8/23/1948
Died: 10/13/1969  Age: 21
Hometown: Lorain

Glenn Michael Schroeder, Army
Born: 6/6/1949
Died: 10/21/1969  Age: 20
Hometown: Elyria

Calvin Blanton Jr., Marine Corps
Born: 9/10/1948
Died: 10/26/1969  Age: 21
Hometown: Lorain

Richard Matthew Logan, Army
Born: 7/8/1944
Died: 10/26/1969  Age: 25
Hometown: Elyria

David Allen Fowler, Army
Born: 8/8/1951
Died: 1/18/1970  Age: 18
Hometown: Elyria

Carris Michael Francis, Marine Corps
Born: 7/10/1951
Died: 3/24/1970  Age: 18
Hometown: Elyria

Dale Andre Gronsky, Army
Born: 2/18/1949
Died: 4/2/1970  Age: 21
Hometown: Henrietta Township

John Lewis Kotora, Army
Born: 12/17/1948
Died: 5/3/1970  Age: 21
Hometown: Vermilion

Richard Max Pearl, Air Force
Born: 5/12/1938
Died: 7/21/1970  Age: 32
Hometown: Lorain

Andrew Joseph Toth Jr., Navy
Born: 5/29/1925
Died: 3/2/1971  Age: 45
Hometown: Lorain

John Steven Gentkowski, Army
Born: 11/13/1950
Died: 4/19/1971  Age: 20
Hometown: Elyria

Henry Dale Adkins, Army
Born: 8/18/1950
Died: 5/23/1971  Age: 20
Hometown: Lorain

Sidney Allen Cottrell, Army
Born: 6/9/1950
Died: 10/4/1971  Age: 21
Hometown: Wellington

James Patrick Delaney, Army
Born: 12/17/1949
Died: 11/10/1971  Age: 21
Hometown: Lorain

Richard Van De Geer, Air Force
Born: 1/11/1948
Died: 5/15/1975  Age: 27
Hometown: Sheffield Lake

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