On Friday, Nov. 16, a gala dinner will be held at West Lake Country Club. Regional Boy Scouts will be honoring Medal of Honor recipient Wes Fox.
The Boy Scouts, who do such a great job of instilling values and discipline among our young men, need strong financial support. Hence, this dinner is a fund-raiser. Laurie Ott, former anchorwoman for WRDW-TV (Channel 12), who has recently dedicated her life to support our wounded warriors, will be the mistress of ceremonies.
At the dinner, Fox will be signing and personalizing copies of two books: his autobiography, Marine Rifleman, and Medal of Honor, by Peter Collier. Dr. Richard Jadick, who was responsible for saving the lives of 30 badly wounded Marines in the battle of Fallujah in November 2004, also will be in attendance.
Let me outline the life story of Marine Col. Wes Fox. Born and raised on a farm in northern Virginia, Fox dropped out of high school and planned to spend the rest of his life as a farmer. When the Korean War broke out in 1950, he changed his plans and joined the Marine Corps. This humble patriot survived two combat tours in Korea and earned his Medal of Honor in an intense firefight during the Vietnam War.
FOX SERVED his country for 43 years in a Marine uniform, retiring as a colonel. Yet his service to his country was not complete. Upon retirement, he moved to Blacksburg, Va., and became a leader in the ROTC program at Virginia Tech. He remained in uniform for another eight years. Hence, Colonel Fox not only served his nation with great distinction on the battlefields of Korea and Vietnam, he also served in a Marine uniform for 51 consecutive years.
There are many other activities going on where Medal of Honor recipients will be honored. Brian Williams, the anchorman of the NBC Nightly News, is highlighting a Medal of Honor recipient during each of the six nights leading up to Veterans Day on Nov. 11. Williams, who serves on the board of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, has done a wonderful job of furthering the legacy of America's recipients of our highest award for combat heroism. I encourage everyone to watch the NBC Nightly News each evening at 6:30 p.m. tonight and for the rest of the week.
FOR THOSE who are interested the events next year, let me highlight just one. On May 15, 2008, 25 Medal of Honor recipients will attend a gala dinner at the magnificent banquet facilities at the Georgia Aquarium in downtown Atlanta. Former Sen. Sam Nunn will be honored, and Brian Williams not only will bring his entire Nightly News team to Atlanta but also will serve as master of ceremonies. Kimberly Dozier, the CBS correspondent who was so badly wounded on Memorial Day 2006, and who has conducted herself so well during her long rehabilitation, also will be honored. Anyone interested in attending this grand event should feel free to contact me directly. Of the 25 tables, 19 already have been purchased. In this case, the funds raised will directly support the recipients in a variety of ways.
It is not too late to attend the Boy Scout dinner on Nov. 16. You will get a chance to meet and visit with two remarkable Americans, Wes Fox and Richard Jadick, as well as support a very worthy cause. This year's live and silent auctions boast several outstanding trips.
THE HIGHLIGHT of the trips offered is a trip to Scotland. The accommodations are six nights at the St. Andrews Old Course Hotel, and the lucky winner will play a day of golf on Kings Barns, Carnoustie, St. Andrews New and St. Andrews Old courses. Other first-rate auction items include a Acura RDX from Acura of Augusta, a 38-inch Frigidaire Gas Grill from Electrolux, and a Treasure Box of Jewels from Windsor.
There also is a Medal of Honor book with signatures of many recipients. Since there are only 109 living recipients and since the average age is 75, very soon only a handful will still grace our presence. Hence, books like this one soon will become valuable keepsakes.
There are still a few seats left for the dinner. Please feel free to call the Boy Scouts office at (706) 73305277 to make your reservation. Be sure to bring your camera. I hope to see you there.
If you cannot make the dinner, you may be interested in another event that Col. Fox will attend. At 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, at Enterprise Mill, there will be a gathering of Eagle Scouts. The Boy Scout office has the details. Fox will sign and personalize books at this event also.
(The writer, a retired Air Force major general, serves on the board of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation. He assisted in the editing of Medal of Honor, by Peter Collier. Gen. Smith can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)