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Originally published: 2013-06-10 11:34:26
Last modified: 2013-06-10 11:35:11

Thank you for memorial tribute

On behalf of the Harold Dean Beach family, I wish to thank so many who made his memorial on May 30  so honorable and memorable ("Last Salute," May 31):

The Watauga Democrat staff for such beautiful news coverage for the event. The Watauga County Sheriff's Department and Deputy Todd Phillips for traffic control, Greg Hampton with Barney Hampton Funeral Home for working out the graveside set up and escort of family to Skyline Cemetery from Rich Mountain Baptist Church and to Jamie Sutton with La Quinta Inn for room accommodations and hospitality.

Finley Hodges and the Watauga American Legion Post 130 and Disabled American Veterans Post 90, which provided the honor guard, 21-gun salute, and TAPS, bagpiper Jamie Fish, vocalist Bob Lee,  who sang "Danny Boy" and Dave Kyle, who shared his musical CD "Ghost of Vietnam" -- we deeply appreciate your time and talents. Jim Jean, platoon leader, event coordinator and the one responsible for starting the Harold Dean Beach Vietnam Memorial Scholarship annual Remembrance at Watauga High School, and all 15 Shamrock D troopers who came to show their love, respect and share wonderful memories of him, we thank you dearly.

To family members, who also shared their musical talents with awesome songs, April Brown and girls Chelsea and Brooke Harrison, Betty Boyd, and Darlene Greene-Caudill ( who videotaped the event) and for the food prepared for the D troopers luncheon.

To Karen Greene who took photos to share with the family. My good friends, Sharon Hardy Cox, Dave Sims (barbecue), Don and Delores Fogleman (who came from Caswell County), Elizabeth Heffenger for helping with food for the luncheon and Meat Camp Baptist Church for hosting us in your fellowship hall.

Jane Penley, a former mountain neighbor who cleaned up his grave marker and has placed flags at his marker in his honor and memory during the holidays, and to her brother, Morris, who told childhood stories of his friendship and growing up with Harold that brought laughter to a sullen crowd.

To other friends who spoke, your stories were so unexpected but, so dearly appreciated, and will never be forgotten, thank you. Thank you Polly Combs, former WHS guidance counselor, for connecting Jim Jean to me, so that God's cascading grace would take place and bring us all together to heal and honor Harold and form everlasting friendships -- all because of the sacrifice he made to save his platoon comrades and serve his country. 

At times, during the memorial and my trip to Washington, D.C., talking with D troopers, family and friends, my heart struggled for words strong enough to give adequate praise and thanksgiving to such kindness and love shown to me and my family during this entire praiseworthy experience.
To all, we deeply appreciate your generosity, love and support for a young man who served his country courageously. Our family has been enlarged as a result of our gathering, and we owe it to our late brother, uncle, cousin or other, to conduct our lives fittingly and with God's help, to grow stronger from this experience and to never take our freedoms we love and enjoy for granted. God bless you all, always.

Deborah Beach Jones