Archive for Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Talk of war hits home

Baldwin residents look for ways to support military

March 19, 2003

With war in Iraq looming, many Baldwin City residents have personal ties with loved ones involved overseas and many other locals are compelled to do what they can to help out.

At least three recent Baldwin High School graduates -- John Bones, David Dunbar and Cody Fordemwalt -- are in the Army and a fourth BHS and Baker University graduate, Dan DeSpain, recently began basic training with the Marines.

There may be more and Marvin Jardon, former Baldwin City Postmaster and member of the local American Legion post, would like to get a list compiled with addresses so local residents can contact them.

"If we could get something like that started, it would be good," said Jardon. "We could all just jot them a note to let them know we're thinking of them."

The Signal attempted to track down the addresses Tuesday for those in the service and they are listed at the end of story.

Jardon also said the local Legion Post is having a birthday party Wednesday with a patriotic theme and war with Iraq will likely be the big topic. On Tuesday, Jardon was already counting the time down after President Bush's Monday night declaration.

"It sounds like 48 hours," Jardon said. "That's a short time away. I don't think it's going to be nice for our boys over there or for any of us."

Katie Novak, a BHS senior who is engaged to Dunbar who is stationed in Korea, was also apprehensive with the news on Tuesday morning.

"I'm kind of scared," Novak said. "I'm worried about all the guys and women over there. We'll see how it turns out."

The Rev. Ira DeSpain, Baker University minister and father of Dan DeSpain, has adjusted to the idea of his son being in the Marines and is filled with pride with the decision his son made to serve his country.

"He has a real strong sense of calling that this is what he's to do," said Rev. DeSpain. "There's obviously a great deal of pride and there's also apprehension like with any military family. His feeling called him in a spiritual way to do this."

Rev. DeSpain also sees the reactions from Baker students who are of the age to be involved.

"They seem wary of it, resigned to it and resolved to it," he said. "Terrorism is a genuine risk. Some students see themselves as potential draftees or volunteers. I had one student say he's going to apply for law school or get drafted.

"Weapons of mass destruction do need to be found and destroyed," DeSpain said. "Many feel a profound need to go do that. There are also students here who are very much on the other end of it. They believe a peaceful solution is the answer. There are students who are concerned about how the U.S. will be viewed because of this."

He thinks the Baker students reflect what other Americans are feeling.

"Our culture, our country is divided on what the right thing to do is," he said. "I think our students are, too."

The address for Bones is: PFC Bones, John, TFB 1-30INBN (M) 3rd/3rd, OPP Enduring Freedom, Camp New Jersey, APOAE 09303-3307. For Dunbar, it is: PFC Dunbar, David, 1st Platoon, A5-5ABA, Unit #15155 APO AP, 96224-5155. Attempts to get Fordemwalt and DeSpain's addresses were unsuccessful. The Signal will update the list with more addresses and additional names.

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