WARREN — Jim Valesky spent his Thursday morning placing 60 signs with images of Trumbull County men killed in the Vietnam War in front of the Kinsman House on Mahoning Avenue, as he has done before every Veterans Day and Memorial Day since 2018.
Several hundred miles away in Washington, DC, volunteers starting around 3:30 p.m. Monday read about 58,000 names of men and women killed in Vietnam — including the 60 names on Valesky’s signs.
The ceremony in Washington, scheduled to end at midnight, marked the 40th anniversary of the Vietnam Memorial, which was dedicated in November 1982.
The construction of the memorial wall was spearheaded by Maryland-born Vietnam veteran Jan Scruggs, according to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. A competition to design the monument was won by Maya Ying Lin, then 21, of Athens, Ohio, who was a senior at Yale University. The names of the fallen are engraved in chronological order on reflective black granite.
Each name on the wall is written the same size and without rank, Valesky said, meaning a private can stand next to a general.
Valesky, a Marine Corps veteran and President of the Warren Heritage Center, first had signs made when the Warren Heritage Center, with the help of Trumbull County Veterans Services and about 150 volunteers, brought the traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall to Warren in 2018. The sign lists the information for one Trumbull County man who died in Vietnam, including where his name is engraved on the memorial wall.
“I’m very lucky, but these guys aren’t” said Valesky. “The least I can do is what I do here.”
Valesky said he actually knew 61 Trumbull County men who died in Vietnam. The additional man, Army Capt. Richard M. Rees, who was a graduate of Warren G. Harding High School, gave his address as a relative’s home in Portage County, so official databases do not include him on the Trumbull County list.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund shows that nearly 100 Mahoning County men and 36 Columbiana County men died in Vietnam.
Among the more than 58,000 names on the wall are eight women, all nurses. Most died in helicopter or plane crashes, but one woman, 1st Lt. Sharon Ann Lane of Canton, was killed in a missile attack.
Valesky said when the Wandering Memorial Wall stood in Warren, it brought the community together. Now people stop to look at the signs that run along the sidewalk and arch to historic Kinsman House. He said many of the deceased soldiers pictured still have family and friends living in the area.
“As long as people remember them, they’re still around” said Valesky.
The signs will remain in place through tonight and will be re-erected in May for Memorial Day.
Trumbull County men killed in Vietnam
Marvin Douglas Avery, Warren, Marine
Keith Ray Bacorn, Warren, Marine
Donald Eugene Bartek, Vienna, Army
Charles Edward Battles, Warren, Army
Michael Lee Bowman, Warren, Marine
James Robert Brobst, Newton Falls, Army
Gary Lee Brown, Warren, Army
Thomas David Catlin, Niles, Army
James W. Charlesworth Jr., Girard, Army
Richard Anthony Choppa, Hubbard, Army
McArthur Coleman, Masuria, Marine Corps
James Emory Cross, Warren, Air Force
Kenneth Lee Crysel, Warren, Marine Corps
George W. Darnell Jr., Warren, Army
Gary Ray Davis, Warren, Marine Corps
Thomas Evan Douglas, Warren, Marine Corps
Alfred Dugger, Warren, Army
John David Flanigan, Warren, Marine Corps
Gary Lee Fleck, Niles, Army
William Allen Haines Jr., Warren, Army
Andre Haroulakis, Warren, Army
Robert Eudgene Hewitt, Warren, Army
Dallas Edwin Hickman, Warren, Army
George Allen Hubbard, Hubbard, Army
Andrew Michael Hudak, Warren, Marine Corps
David Lee Jackson Jr., Warren, Army
Michael Donald Jarrett, Warren, Marine
Dennis Neil Johnston, McDonald, Navy
Bruce R. Jones, Niles, Air Force
Robert Arthur Jones, Girard, Army
Percy Julian, Warren, Army
James Joseph Kester, Warren, Army
Richard Charles Knapp, Warren, Army
Donald Edward Layfield, Leavittsburg, Army
Richard Keith Lemmon, Liberty Army
Robert Donald Logue, Warren, Marine Corps
Richard Myron Lombardo, Warren, Marine Corps
John Thomas Montgomery, Newton Falls, Army
John Lee Moreland, Liberty, Marine Corps
Albert C. Myers, Warren, Army
Herbert James Nece, Mesopotamia, Army
David Thomas Orwig III, Niles, Army
Gustav Ostrakovic, Cortland, Marine Corps
William E. Parker III, Warren, Marine Corps
Frank Joseph Prokop, Warren, Marine Corps
Walter Garland Rice Jr., Bristol, Army
John Harold Roach, Warren, Marine Corps
Bernard James Rodzen, Warren, Marine Corps
Ronald Carl Ross, Girard, Army
David Alexander Semeraro, Niles, Army
Paul Anthony Sgambati, Girard, Army
Joseph A. Siciliano Jr., Girard, Marine Corps
Andrew Richard Sinchak Jr., Cortland, Army
William Michael Skovran, Warren, Army
David Charles Teutsch, Newton Falls, Marine Corps
Robert Virgil Thomas, Warren, Army
Albert Allen Vencel, Warren, Army
John Mathew Vitello Jr., Warren, Army
Martin Walker Jr., Masuria, Army
Terrance Lee Weant, Cortland, Army
* Army Capt. Richard M. Rees was a graduate of Warren G. Harding High School but gave his address as a relative’s home in Portage County, so official databases do not include him on the Trumbull County list.
SOURCE: Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund