The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund’s (VVMF) In Memory Program honors Vietnam veterans whose lives were cut short as a result of their service after they returned home from Vietnam. “For many Vietnam veterans, coming home from Vietnam was just the beginning of a whole new fight,” said Jim Knotts, president and CEO of VVMF. “Many never fully recovered, either physically or emotionally, from their experiences. As these veterans pass, it is our duty and solemn promise to welcome them home to the place that our nation has set aside to remember our Vietnam veterans.”
In Memory of Ernest Gilmore
June 5, 1949 – May 28, 2010
Ernest Gilmore was a native of Smithfield and served with the U.S. Army in Vietnam in 1970. He received head injuries while “in country” and was medically discharged in 1971. He was survived by his wife and a 4-year-old daughter.
In Memory of Donald Baxter Hall
June 10, 1948 – Dec. 18, 2018
Donald Hall of Durham was a U.S. Army combat medic in Vietnam and received a Bronze Medal. He worked at GTE/Verizon for 38 years. He suffered from PTSD. He attributed his cancer to exposure to Agent Orange while in Vietnam. He recalled being soaked several times, including while in bomb craters.
In Memory of Douglas W. Hammond
April 2, 1945 – June 7, 2017
Douglas Hammond of Four Oaks enlisted in the U.S. Air Force after high school and was a forward air controller. He later was a golf course superintendent and played rounds with professionals such as Jack Nicklaus and Phil Mickelson. He was a fabulous wood worker. For many years he was Santa Clause to terminally ill children. He died from complications cause by exposure to Agent Orange while in Vietnam.
In Memory of Otis Donald Hudson, Jr.
March 17, 1950 – April 29, 2018
Otis Hudson, Jr., was a jet engine mechanic for the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam. After his service, he worked for 37 years as an airplane mechanic.
In Memory of Kenneth Pacheco
July 14, 1951 – June 14, 2017
Kenneth Pacheco was a native of Oakland, Calif., and enlisted in the U.S. Navy after graduating from high school when he was 17 years old. He served in Vietnam from 1969 through 1971. He became a Respiratory Therapist after his service and later worked in cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation. He endured issues cause by his exposure to Agent Orange and had mobility issues. He was living in Garner at the time of his death.
In Memory of Wiley Mingia
Dec. 19, 1949 – April 27, 2010
Wiley Mingia served in the U.S. Marines in Vietnam. He enlisted soon after graduating from Garner High School. He died on April 27, 2010 and is buried at Montlawn Cemetery in Raleigh.
In Memory of Ronnie Williams
February 24, 1948 – September 12, 2020
Ronnie Williams passed away on Saturday, September 12, 2020, after a long and hard-fought battle with Parkinson’s Disease. He was a Garner town alderman in 1985 through 2005 and was Garner Mayor from 2005 through 2019. Garner became an All-America City in 2013 under his leadership. A native of Garner, Williams served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam in 1968 through 1969. Doctors believe his exposure to Agent Orange was a factor in his having Parkinson’s Disease.
In Memory of Paul Houston Woods
Dec. 12, 1937 – Oct. 26, 2017
Paul Woods was born in Whiteville and invited in the U.S. Army before he completed high school. He was in the military for 20 years and served during the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. He belonged to the 101st Airborne Division in Special Forces. After retiring from the military, Paul created a company that was leading edge in hydroponics. After selling that business, he started the Pavement Stencil Company in Longwood, FL, later moving it to Roanoke, Va. He retired to Garner and eventually died of stomach cancer.