WOODSTOCK – The Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors honored a local military veteran Thursday – the 75th anniversary of D-Day – for his service to the country and his community.
Board Chairman Conrad Helsley presented a resolution to family members of retired Lt. Col Raymond F. “Ray” Powell. Powell could not attend the meeting to receive the resolution in person. Dozens of people, many of them Powell’s fellow military veterans as well as his friends and family, filled the meeting room.
The board recognized Powell’s contributions and offered his family the resolution as a symbol of appreciation.
“Whereas, Ray served our Country with bravery, patriotism, and valor having served in the defense of our country during two tours of duty in Vietnam along with a career distinguished in the United States Army,” the resolution states. “Whereas, Lt. Colonel Powell distinguished himself not only in service to his country, but also as a volunteer, organizer, mentor and public servant within our country ...”
The resolution goes on to state that “Ray was a faithful and devoted servant in the performance of his duties to many civic, school, government and church organizations; and whereas, we wish to take this moment to recognize Ray for a lifetime of service to others, his country, his community and his neighbors.”
Helsley called the resolution for Powell very fitting given that the board presented it on the anniversary of D-Day.
“Ray Powell was a good friend, a very hard worker and he was very much a military man,” Helsley told the crowd. “He never forgot his military experience and what he did in the military.
Powell’s community service has included his work coordinating the veterans day events held for years during the Shenandoah County Fair and as a member of the Woodstock Lions Club.
Powell’s wife Judith, his son Jason and his wife Molly and their two sons appeared to accept the resolution. Helsley read the resolution. Then Jason Powell read a statement written for his mother to read but she did not feel well enough to do so.
“So Ray wanted to attend today and stand behind this podium here at least one more time to accept this honor himself,” Jason Powell read. “But as many of you know, he is now unable to get out and about due to the ravages of terminal pancreatic cancer.
“On behalf of Ray, I sincerely thank you all for this honor of being recognized by Shenandoah County and the Board of Supervisors,” Jason Powell read. “Ray semi-retired when we moved to Woodstock in 2005. It was our intent to participate in the community and give our talents and abilities. It wasn’t long after, maybe a matter of months, that he was too busy volunteering that he didn’t have time to work.”
Jason Powell went on to read that his father is grateful to have opportunities to help others further the goals of the community and Shenandoah County.
“Ray would say that it has been an honor to work with you,” Jason Powell read. “Once he recognized that he would be incapacitated, he very emotionally stated that there was so much more that he wanted to do.
“Even now he is forward-thinking by sharing his vision and plans and giving thanks and encouragement to others,” Jason Powell went on to state. “Again, on behalf of Ray, thank you for this honor. It means so much to him and our family.”
Judith Powell thanked the board and the audience.
“It’s so heartwarming to see so many of you here today to honor Ray,” Judith Powell told the standing-room-only crowd. “All I can say is thank you. It would mean a lot to him.”