On Monday, May 27, Port Clinton will honor those who lost their lives and veterans.
At 9 a.m. memorial services will be conducted at Port Clinton Yacht Club for those who lost their lives at sea. Wreaths will be cast from the City Harbor patrol boat into the river.
At 10 a.m. the parade will form in front of the former Port Clinton Junior High School. It will proceed north on Madison to Perry, east on Perry to Jefferson, to west on Second Street and to Monroe Street Veterans’ Park.
Opening prayer will be by Pastor Brian Hild of Church of Truth Ministries, followed by the introduction of the commanders of the VFW, American Legion and AM VETS. Port Clinton High School Band under the direction of Rod Miller will provide music. The principal address will be by former US Marine Sgt. Jason Thomas. Closing prayer will be by VFW Chaplain Edgar Irick.
VFW Post 2480 Commander Richard Ellis stated, “We are greatly honored to have Mr. Thomas as our speaker this year. Port Clinton is the proud home to many military veterans and their families. This is a day we set aside to commemorate, honor and remember those fallen heroes who paid the ultimate prive for the freedom we enjoy today.”
Judge Frederick C. (Fritz) Hany II of Port Clinton met special guest Thomas in Columbus where Thomas is a marshall with the security detail for the Ohio Supreme Court. Hany was impressed by Thomas, especially when he found out about Thomas’s heroic acts on Sept. 11, 2001, and contacted John Fritz and Commander Ellis, who made arrangements for Thomas to come to Port Clinton for this special Memorial Day service. Ron Miller of Our Guest Inn and Suites is providing accommodations for Thomas and his family. Judge Hany is “thankful to the VFW and John Fritz for allowing me to be part of this ceremony.”
Excerpted from the Washington Post article of Aug. 14, 2006, “Mystery 9/11 Rescuer Reveals Himself”:
Thomas was living on Long Island when the attacks on the World Trade Center occurred. He had been out of the Marine Corps for about a year at that time, but when he learned of the attacks, retrieved his Marine uniform and headed down to the towers.
Thomas said, “Someone needed help. I didn’t even have a plan. But I have all this training as a Marine, and all I could think was, ‘My city is in need’.” Thomas and another ex-Marine, Staff Sgt. David Karnes, decided to search for survivors. After dark, they heard a response and found Port Authority police officers Will Jimeno and Sgt. John McLoughlin injured and entombed beneath 20 feet of debris. Jimeno and McLoughlin were rescued that day. Thomas returned to ground zero every day for another 2 ½ weeks to pitch in, then walked away and tried to forget. “I didn’t want to relive what took place that day.”
The movie “World Trade Center” came out in 2006, and Thomas saw himself portrayed in the film. Ironically, the actor portraying him was white, and Thomas is Afro-American. As for his story, Thomas said he is gradually becoming more comfortable telling it.