Sperryville column for July 11

At the Emporium, Korean service honored

Our own John Elmo Clay, who works for (and lives just behind) the Sperryville Emporium, was recently recognized by his country for his valor and service in the Korean War, also sometimes called the “Forgotten War.”

John Elmo Clay (second from left) receives a certificate of appreciation from VFW Commander Russell Claar and Valerie Clark (right),  ambassadors for the Department of Defense KW60 program to recognize Korean War veterans. On the left is Clay’s sister, Emma Ferris. The presentation took place at the Sperryville Emporium, where Elmo works (and the certificate now hangs). Courtesy photo.
John Elmo Clay (second from left) receives a certificate of appreciation from VFW Commander Russell Claar and Valerie Clark (right), ambassadors for the Department of Defense KW60 program to recognize Korean War veterans. On the left is Clay’s sister, Emma Ferris. The presentation took place at the Sperryville Emporium, where Elmo works (and the certificate now hangs). Courtesy photo.

As part of a special defense department program to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the conflict, hundreds of volunteers have been working around the country to seek out veterans and award them certificates of appreciation.

According to Post 7728 VFW Commander Russell Claar, a veteran himself and an “ambassador,” as the Korean volunteers are known, it is “a privilege and a moving experience” to honor these men and women. He said he came upon Elmo quite fortuitously, as he knows Darren McKinney, the Emporium’s proprietor, and Darren, learning of Russell’s ambassadorial work, told him about Elmo.

Russell tells of Elmo’s reaction upon hearing the news. In a voice choked with emotion, Claar related, Elmo said quietly: “The Army hasn’t forgotten me.” No, Elmo, the Army hasn’t forgotten you, and thank you for your service to our country. Thanks as well to men and women like Russell Claar and Valerie Clark (who also came to present the certificate to Elmo at the Emporium last week), who volunteer to find these veterans and acknowledge their sacrifice and service.

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Chris Green
About Chris Green 128 Articles
Chris Green (formerly Chris Doxzen) is an an executive recruiter by profession who enjoys exploring and writing about all things Rappahannock. Friends and neighbors with potential stories for her Sperryville column should email her at chrisdoxzen@gmail.com.