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POW/MIA Awareness Run slated for Sept. 18

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Missouri MIA/POW Awareness Run, sponsored by Rolling Thunder Missouri Chapter #3, is scheduled to take place on Sunday, Sept. 18 at Monett's South Park. The ceremony honoring all Missouri MIA and POW military personnel will take place near the Navy jet at 2 p.m.

The motorcycle cavalcade will depart from the Mt. Vernon Veteran's Home at noon on Sunday and rendezvous at the Monett Park. The public is encouraged to display American flags from their vehicles and join the procession.

Guest speakers for the event include: Gene Dove, representing the Purple Heart Society; Col. Michelle Hovland, J2/6 from the Missouri Army National Guard; and Teresa Stark, mother of fallen soldier Christopher Stark, who was killed in the line of duty in February of this year.

An honor presentation will be made to Alvin Schad, of Monett, who is a Korean War veteran and former POW held in a Chinese camp in Korea for over two years.

Following the reading of the names of 38 Vietnam veterans still missing in action or unaccounted for, 247 black balloons, honoring those veterans and 209 Korean MIAs from Missouri, will be released and a moment of silence observed.

Concessions and merchandise will be available.

Rolling Thunder has 92 chartered chapters in the United States with over 950,000 participants making the annual Ride to the Wall in Washington, D.C.

"There are still POWs and MIAs being held in foreign countries," said John Williams, Rolling Thunder Missouri Chapter #3 president. "There are still military personnel, men and women, unaccounted for from World War II, the Cold War, the Korean conflict, the Vietnam conflict, the Persian Gulf War, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

"We won't stop until they are all accounted for," Williams said.

The volunteer organization also supports Rolling Thunder Charities, a not-for-profit organization that support veterans and active military personnel and their families who are in need. The organizations provide financial support, food, clothing and essentials to veterans, homeless veterans, families in need and women's crisis centers.

"Rolling Thunder also sponsors search missions into southeast Asia for POWs and MIAs and the remains of those killed in action," Williams said. "We will not forget."

More information on Rolling Thunder Missouri Chapter #3 may be found a www.rollingthunder1.com.

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