Deerfield area vets walk to honor their own

  • Roland Kinsman wore his old Army uniform on a walk in South Deerfield to honor veterans. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • Deerfield resident Katie Ross wore the name of her uncle, Holyoke native James Burke during a Veterans' Day walk at the senior center. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • Walkers arrive at the Senior Center during a Veterans' Day walk Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo Recorder Staff—Andy Castillo

For the Gazette
Saturday, November 19, 2016

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Bernardston Vietnam veteran Roland Kinsman wore his old Army uniform during a Veterans Day remembrance walk honoring military service members recently.

“I didn’t wear one veteran’s name specifically I’m here for these guys,” Kinsman said, while pointing to a patch on his sleeve that read “in memory, 1959 to 1975, 58,479 brothers who never returned, Vietnam.”

The walk, sponsored by VFW Post 3295, stepped off from the South County Senior Center and traversed about two miles through the center of South Deerfield. According to Junior Vice Commander Jim Ross, the post represents combat veterans from Sunderland, Deerfield and Whately, and participates in funerals and other events.

About 60 people walked during the event and wore placards with the names of veterans written on them. While the event was free, those who wanted could donate to veteran organizations. Local resident and walker Katie Ross wore the name of her uncle, Holyoke native James Burke. Burke stormed the beaches of Normandy during World War II.

Ross described her uncle as “a very kind man who loved his country and his family, and who always had a flag in his yard.”

“One of the things we want to make sure we do is to never forget,” John Imhoff said as walkers made there way back, ending at a tent set up behind the senior center. “The event is for your veteran specifically.”

“It’s for those who served, as opposed to Memorial Day, which is for the pour souls who perished,” Korean War veteran Jim Ross said. “It encompasses all veterans, an acknowledgement of those who’ve served our country,” said Ross, noting that the local post is very active.

Ross said the event was a success, and the post plans to hold it again next year.