Pelion, S.C. (Kay Collin) - Approximately 150 people braved possible COVID-19 virus exposure to attend the Sixth Annual Pelion Ruritan Veterans Memorial Service held on May 25. The weather was perfect and the service was wonderful.
The service this year was dedicated to the memories of Benny Collings who passed away October 21, 2019, and Charlie Haggard who passed away February 12, 2020.
The veterans monument was conceived in 2014 by Benny Collings as chair of the Patriotic and Citizenship Committee. Benny and Ron Clamp designed and created the granite memorial. Benny served as the chair of the committee from its inception until his death. The memorial was a source of pride for him and he always took his out of state visitors to walk through the monument and discuss how it came about.
Contractors who gave their time and equipment at no cost to the club included Kelly Green, Jesse Jeffcoat, Corey & Dwight Rish, Tony Rucker, Kevin Windham, and D&T Steel. 340 engraved pavers bear the names of veterans who have served or are still serving. Twenty eight names of men who were killed in action are engraved on the granite band.
The service began with the “ringing of the hour” by Otto Hage, Pelion High Band Director. Everyone stood and faced the monument to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. The Soldiers of Faith gave a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem and the invocation was given by Rev. Jerry Branham. Rev. Brahman is pastor of the Pelion Church of the Nazarene and also serves as the Ruritan Chaplain. Kay Collings, current President of the Ruritan then welcomed everyone and recognized the S. C. Patriot Guard Riders and the veterans who were in attendance. Josh Quattlebaum with the Soldiers of Faith then sang “God Bless the USA.”
Special speaker was Pelion’s own COL. Michael Haggard whose parents are Jean Haggard and the late Charles Haggard. Michael was a welcomed guest and his remarks were exceptional. Other speakers included Mayor Frank Shumpert and Representative Kit Spires.
The Soldiers of Faith, a Southern Gospel Group, then sang a patriotic song. Members of this group are David Goldsberry, Kevin Prosser, Josh Quattlebaum, and Caleb Henderson.
The flag ceremony was conducted by the American Legion Pelion Post #101 under the command of Mark Bays and assisted by Ruritan veteran members Steve Neese and Sam Jackson, Sr. Ed Wilkes played the bagpipes during this ceremony.
Kay Collings gave the closing remarks and the 21-gun salute was given by Lexington County Sheriff’s Department Honor Guard. Taps was played by Otto Hage.
A special thanks to Shelly Laird, owner of Pineview Florist, who donated the beautiful wreath for the service. The Ruritan also thanks the Soldiers of Faith, COL. Michael Haggard, Mayor Frank Shumpert, Representative Kit Spires, Ed Wilkes, Otto Hage, the Lexington County Sheriff’s Honor Guard, and the American Legion Pelion Post #101 for their participation in this service. We also thank the community for their continued support of this event.
If you would like to add a name to this monument, forms are available at the Pelion Town Hall. Forms are collected through April 15 to be placed each May in time for the annual service.