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Spanish Cove Wall of Honor celebrates veterans

Jack Aitken takes in his portrait on the Wall of Honor at Spanish Cove. Photo / Chris Eversole

Spanish Cove’s Veterans Day celebration had a surprise ending.
As the ceremony concluded Monday, Wellness Director Debbie Miller invited the crowd to view the unveiling of a Wall of Honor.
Miller and carpenter James McCally had been quietly creating the Wall of Honor.
They had managed to keep it secret from the rest of the staff and the residents, including closing down the area that houses it for four hours Sunday for the installation.
“It’s hard to keep anything a secret around here, but we did it,” she said.
As the guests viewed the Wall of Honor, they were full of praise, saying “how cool is that,” “looks good.”
Nonveterans said, “Thank you for your service.”
Veterans searched for their pictures on the wall, which shows 67 current residents, including four women.
It also displays the pictures of nine veterans from the community who died over the past year.
The veterans include Hazel Mills, 99, who was a member of the Women’s Army Corps during World War II.
Mills served three years, then received teacher training on the GI Bill.
She taught in Oklahoma City for 34 years and has lived in Spanish Cove for 24 years, she said.
Korean War veteran Rex Lawrence, 87, rejoiced in the celebration.
“I love my country,” he said during a reception following the unveiling of the Wall of Honor.
Buddies Stephen Johnson, 74, and Bob Green, 78, chatted about their days in the Air Force.
Johnson was a master sergeant, and Green a senior master sergeant.
“He outranked me by one stripe,” Johnson said.
The event, held in Plaza Hall, attracted 200 residents and their families.
The program included songs and a video featuring photos of the veterans – while serving and today – prepared by Katie Knudsen, the granddaughter of Shirley McDaniel.
McDaniel, who is a cosmetologist at Spanish Cove, organized the event.
Miller said she was delighted that the Wall of Honor was well-received.
“It’s one of the favorite programs I’ve ever worked on,” she said.
“It was a labor of love.”

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