UNION — A man who has served his country and his community as a soldier, educator and community activist has been named Union County’s Veteran of the Year for 2012.
Cindy Fore, director of the Union County Veterans Affairs Office and member of the Union County Veterans Day Parade Committee, announced that Col. William J. Whitener has been named the county’s Veteran of the Year.
Fore said Whitener was chosen for his military service and his contributions to the community. She said he will be recognized during the Veterans Day Service at 11 a.m. Monday in front of the War Memorial at the intersection Main and Mountain streets.
Whitener is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and a decorated military veteran, having served in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars. He also served as the Chief of Staff at West Point from 1967-69.
Following his military career, Whitener served as dean of USC-Union from 1977-84. In 1993 he was asked by University of South Carolina President John Palms to serve as Interim Chancellor of the University of South Carolina at Spartanburg, a position he held through 1994. Col. Whitener also served on the S.C. Commission on Higher Education from 1988-93.
Whitener’s community activities involving helping to establish and secure facilities for the Union County Museum; serving as first chairman of the Union Community Foundation; a member and now president emeritus of the Union County Historical Society; chairman of the Union County Historic Trail which develop a trail linking the county’s historic sites; contributing to the development of the Timken Sports Complex; and serving as an ex-oficio member of the county’s 2020 Advisory Committee.
Over the years, Whitener has received a number of awards honoring his years of public service including being named Union Veteran of the Year for 2008; receiving the Palmetto Patriot Award from the state in 2010; receiving the Centennial Cornerstone Award from the county in 2011 with the plaque presented him now on display in the courthouse.
Fore also announced that three Jonesville area residents will serve as parade marshals for the Veterans Day Parade.
James Littlejohn, a U.S. Air Force veteran, Bill Littlejohn, a U.S. Army veteran, and Bill Craig, a former National Guardsman who served as commander of the Jonesville unit, Heavy Mortar Company of the 218 Infantry, were selected as parade marshals not only for their military service, but for their work growing food for people in need.
Fore said the three cultivate a large garden in the Jonesville area and make the produce they grow available to needy people in Jonesville and in surrounding communities.
The Veterans Day Parade will begin at 10:30 a.m. in front of the Union County Courthouse and proceed down Main Street to the War Memorial for the Veterans Day Service.
Fore said the speaker for the Veterans Day Service will be Vivian Bradburn, the widow of Hay Fant Bradburn.
The Bradburns are both veterans, she serving in the Women’s Army Corps in World War II and he in U.S. Air Force in World War II and the Korean Conflict.
Fore said Bradburn was chosen to speak because of the emphasis the Veterans Day program is putting on the families of deployed military personnel and how their deployment effects the family. She said Bradburn will speak about how she and family were affected by her husband’s deployments during his years in the Air Force.
Fore said the parade line-up will include:
• Union County Sheriff David Taylor
• Union Public Safety Director Sam White
• Union County High School JROTC Color Guard
• Vivian Bradburn
• Col. Whitener
• The Parade Marshals
• Union Christian Day School Band
• Any and all veterans who will either walk or ride
• Union County High School JROTC
• Political leaders
• Union County High School Band
Fore said there will be military vehicles mixed in with the parade.
She said prior to the start of the parade the Union County High School Chorus under the direction of Leah Pace will perform from 10 a.m. to 10:20 at the War Memorial.
During the Veterans Service, Fore said middle students who wrote winning essays about the effects of military deployment on families will be recogized as will elementary school students who drew winning Veterans Day posters.
The service will also feature a wreath laying at the War Memorial by U.S. Navy veterans George Clark and Frank M. Hart.
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.