Nine receive annual American Man honors

More than 70 people attended the third annual Honoring the American Man Dinner and Recognition event at the Sweet Home VFW Hall on Flag Day, June 14.

Nine men were honored for their service to their families, workplace, community and country. Opportunity was given to send in letters to nominate men. Letters were received from friends, family, and co-workers. All men nominated are honored for their service.

The event was produced by Patton Productions.

A live auction earned funds for the VFW Auxiliary.

CR Wells and Tim Rhodes performed patriotic songs. Sportsman’s Holiday Court princesses, the princess from the VFW AMVETS, and the current Miss Oregon USA and Miss Oregon Teen USA helped with the evenings activities.

Each man received a program book, a custom-created plaque with some of his accomplishments engraved on it, a certificate to go for a “day dig” at Holleywood Ranch in August along with a catered lunch by Mr. Lucky’s Deli, a goody bag, and an American lawn flag.

Those recognized were:

– Alex Clark, who was described by his mother as “a good husband to his wife, Cherish, and a wonderful dad to his kids” and “a good provider as well. He works hard, not just one job but two as he is trying to get their photography studio business going.”

John Emma, a member of AMVET Post 13 in Sweet Home. Emma is very active with many jobs and duties assigned to him.

He participates in funeral details and other work parties in the maintenance of the Post. He also works on Memorial Day to honor those who gave their lives in defending the United States. Emma served in the Federal Reserves during the war in Vietnam.

Duane Davis, a “great husband, dad, grandpa, son and lastly a great friend,” who “has done a lot in his lifetime and has received little recognition.” Davis has done a lot for the community, particularly as a former manager of Mt. Shadows Park. He has worked with the Neighborhood Watch Program, helped organize the park’s Easter Egg hunt for kids, its 4th of July fireworks event, and worked with Down By the Riverside Clean-up. Davis is the new commander for the AMVETS Post 13 and has helped remodel the VFW kitchen and now is working on the parking lot with a new patio in the back.

Russell Reed, who served in the U.S. Navy from 1980 -1983 as an aviation boatswain mate and as weatherman aboard his ship floating around the Antarctic continent. His mission was to gather and provide weather reports to the US forces within their area of operations.Reed has lived in Sweet Home for 35 years, has raised three children and has seven grandchildren.

Herbert Lee “Herb” Gustafson, who has acquired a variety of advanced degrees which he utilizes them to help others: landscape, dental, language arts, music, and more. He has volunteered his time and skills at nursing homes and assisted living facilities to challenge residents to tend their personal and flower gardens independently. Gustfson is an advanced master gardener who has published 19 books in over 20 languages. He has taught gardening in over 30 countries, reaching out to students in prisons, mental care facilities, and special education schools. He has also served as a dental educator, scientific researcher, language arts teacher, and accomplished musician who has performed at Carnegie Hall and with elite members of the New York Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra. He sings, plays the French horn, plays the guitar, and has been the voice over for the Viewmaster slides for The “Three Little Pigs” and numerous classroom classics. Gustafson also studies astrophysics and is a veteran.

Bruce Procknow, who served in the U.S. Navy from 1948-1952 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Boxer during the Korean War from 1951-52 and is a member of VFW Post 3437, serving as Post Surgeon. Procknow has lived in Sweet Home since 1947. He worked at Santiam Lumber Mill and then Willamette Industries as a clipper operator, retiring after 40 years. He has been married to Bette for 36 years and has five children,10 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. He is active with the VFW, Masons, and Shriners, serving on funeral details and the Memorial Day events through the VFW. He assists in Rotary Humanitarian Projects. In his spare time he enjoys reading and watching old musical movies.

Larry Frederick, who served in the Army from 1967-1971, including in Viet Nam from 1967-1968. Frederick has served as commander of VFW Post 3437 for two years. He participates in Funeral Details and in the Memorial Day ceremonies to honor those military personnel that paid the ultimate sacrifice to defend our nation and our freedom. He also assists in humanitarian projects through the Rotary. He is very active at the VFW Hall and performs all tasks assigned to him in good maintenance.

– Al Bashaw, a longtime member and leader in the Elks Club, who also has extended kindnesses to people in need, including providing housing to a needy sister-in-law and flying to California to get tested as a possible bone marrow donor for his brother. “There is no dollar amount you can put on love, but of course you would never hear my brother-in-law say the word “love” to me,” his sister-in-law wrote in nominating Bashaw for the honor. “This man, even though it is hard to be him at times, understands what family is about.”

Jesse H. Sharp, who joined the Navy in 1944 at 17 and served served in the US Navy for 1 1/2 years. He then went to work in a mill, producing railroad ties before becoming a logger in Washington State and Oregon. He married and raised three daughters. Jesse retired in 1986 and has been enjoying retirement fishing, gardening and watching the Trail Blazers basketball games.