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Mayor recognizes veterans, advocate with awards
More than 325 people enjoyed a night of patriotic-themed music performance, along with watching as a group — five veterans and a veteran’s advocate — were honored by the mayor.
The Christ of Rock Community Church was host for the two-hour concert and presentation of the “Point of Light” awards by Mayor Tim Matthes on June 8.
The Breath of Aire choir, composed of singers from throughout the state and led by conductor Dr. J. Bayard DuBois, opened up the concert with a patriotic medley follow by other arrangements, such as “God Bless the U.S.A.” and “You Raise Me Up.”
Matthes, who presented six awards, recognized the first three recipients after the first hours of the concert.
The first award recipient was Michael Countryman, who is a chief in the U.S. Navy.
Countryman, who resides in Port Orchard with his wife and two children, has been in the military for nine years and served on the USS Alabama. He has been awarded with several medals during his service.
He is also a member of VFW Post 2669 and volunteers at the Washington Veterans Home at Retsil.
“We bought our home here four years ago and we just loved the community,” said Countryman. “Thanks for Port Orchard for being so welcoming to everyone, including the military folks who are sometimes just stopping through.”
The second award was presented to Alfred H. Coffelt, Jr., commander of the American Legion Post 30 in Port Orchard. Coffelt retired from the U.S. Army.
“I’ve been told you’re a jack-of-all-trades,” said Matthes. “Besides being post commander, he’s also the post’s real estate manager.”
He is also actives with the Knights of Pythias and Saints Car Club.
“Thank you for all you do for Port Orchard,” Matthes said.
Karen Taylor was surprised when Matthes called her up front as the third recipient.
Taylor started with the ombudsman program in November 1996. She was assigned the Washington Veterans Home in Retsil when she completed her training in April 1997.
Matthes noted that since 2003, Taylor has completed more than 6,000 hours at the home.
“She is a model ombudsman,” said Matthes. “She is an expert in residential rights, well-versed in assisted living and long-term care nursing requirements. She is committed to each and every resident she visits, and knows each and everyone by name.”
Recently, Taylor became a volunteer at Park Vista Retirement and Assisted Living Community, helping local veterans.
“She is most deserving of this award, because of her selfless service to our veterans,” Matthes said.
Veteran Charles McGuire was the fourth recipient.
McGuire is a survivor from the Battle of the Bulge in World War 2 and volunteers with VFW Post 2669 where he served in the honor guard.
“He’s almost 90 and he had to slow down a little bit,” said Matthes. “But he continues to work for the VFW and other things he is interested in.”
Nine-four-year-old Alvie Weatherall, who was the night’s fifth recipient, was unable to attend the ceremony.
Weatherall served in the Army from 1937 to 1940, and was recalled in 1943 to serve as a dog handler in the Pacific Theater in World War II.
After the war, he went to work as a police officer and transferred to the Puget Sound Navel Shipyard’s fire department in 1952. He retired as a captain.
For more than 25 years, Weatherall was a volunteer for the Port Orchard fire department.
“He’s still active with the VFW and other charity work,” said Matthes.
The final award went to Robert MacFann, who retired from the Port Orchard Police Department in January after 15 years with the city. In 2000, he was honored as officer of the year for the department.
“He has consistently demonstrated his willingness to assume more responsibilities,” Matthes said.
MacFann helped in establishing Port Orchard’s first bicycle patrol and was a school resource officer.
“He worked hard in making the school resource officer position a viable one,” said Matthes. “One that would meet the needs of the school district and police department.”
While working with the police department, MacFann served two tours of active duty with the National Guard in 2008 and 2011.
He was wounded in his final tour and was awarded several accommodations, including the Purple Heart.
“This is the example I really, really appreciate for a man who served his whole life. He’s so much deserves this award,” Matthes said.
This was Matthes’ third award ceremony, which he started last summer.