Serviceman honored on return from Iraq

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WEST PARIS – SPC Richard Smith was honored by the town of West Paris at a homecoming celebration at the Finnish American Center on April 18.

Smith is the town’s eighth serviceman to return from Iraq. He was escorted to the celebration by 60 of the Patriot Guard Riders, whose mission is to honor and support America’s military and their families.

Doreen Wilbur emceed the short program. Pastor Bruce Tyner led the invocation. The Boy Scouts presented the flag, and the national anthem and “God Bless America” were sung by Louisa Westleigh, accompanied by Denny Breau on guitar.

Breau honored those present with his original “Dance with Me,” a musical tribute he composed for servicemen. Selectman Wade Rainey presented a certificate of appreciation from the town and gifts from Joe Perham and the Troopettes to Smith.

Wayne Theofrastou briefly explained the new undertaking of the Troopettes, who have been supporting the servicemen and women in Iraq. They will meet on Monday, May 15, to formulate a plan for erecting a new veterans’ monument and to update it with the names of West Paris veterans who have served since the Korean War.

The public is invited to offer ideas and suggestions at the 6 p.m. meeting at the West Paris town office or they may be submitted to Sylvia McCann at 674-2114.

McCann has stepped down from her position as leader of the Troopettes and offered her help to anyone who would like to carry on with the organization.

Smith presented Sylvia and her husband, Richard, with yellow roses, a stained glass plaque featuring a map of Iraq and gift certificates from the eight servicemen and their families.

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