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Inmate veterans hold memorial service

May 26, 2000|By JOSH POLTILOVE

John Worsham served in the 155th Helicopter Assault Co. in Vietnam. He's spent the past 27 years serving a life sentence for murder in Roxbury Correctional Institution.

As president of The Incarcerated Veterans of Roxbury, he was part of the organization's Memorial Day Service on Friday afternoon in the institution's compound outside Hagerstown. The 19-member group includes veterans of the Vietnam, Korean and Persian Gulf wars.

"This shows that even though we're convicts and criminals, we still have pride," said Worsham, 52. "No matter where we're at, we still have pride in those that serve today and (served) in the past."

Friday's ceremony included a speech by state Del. Robert A. McKee of Washington County and the lowering of the flag.

Edward Jackson, an "honorary" member of the organization who is affiliated with Hope Ministry, also spoke to the group.

"This is not a club or a gang but a special brotherhood," Jackson said. "We are one with our fallen comrades. We are veterans saluting our fallen veterans."

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To honor the fallen soldiers, the veterans organization, which began in 1987, has placed plaques down a pathway called The Freedom Walk. Midway through the ceremony, a red, white and blue wreath was placed at one end of the pathway.

"We must always remember our fallen comrades," Jackson said. "Let this be a day of reflection."

Though the Memorial Day event is the organization's main activity each year, the inmates also raise money for charity.

Last year, they washed and waxed Roxbury employees' cars for $7 each and contributed the $3,000 they raised to charity. They donated $1,500 of that to Children in Need, a Washington County organization that provides needed materials such as clothes to children.

"That's certainly a blessing to us," said Don Trumbull, a board member of Children in Need.

Bunny Burch, who attended the event as a member of Point Man International Ministries, said all veterans deserve blessings.

"Regardless if they are in (Roxbury) or not, they still served their country and they need to be recognized for that," Burch said.

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