Front Royal’s Skip Rogers, who last month received “The Spirit of Hope” award for his work and contributions to U.S. armed forces members and veterans at the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes, was saluted by friends and family at a reception in Delaplane, Virginia, October 7.
Rogers operates a unique non-profit called “Able Forces” on Chester Street. “Able Forces” has assisted more than 3,000 wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans into stable employment; as well as financially supported military families in need. Among its programs is one that has enabled more than 250 military families to enjoy gift-filled Christmases for the past several years.
The “Spirit of Hope” award is named for famed comedian Bob Hope. It is given each year to one person or organization nominated by each of the armed services, plus the Secretary of Defense and the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The U.S. Marine Corps chose Rogers this year as was first reported in the Royal Examiner September 11. Rogers has accepted an invitation to give the keynote address at next May’s Memorial Day ceremony at the Front Royal Town Gazebo.
Rogers’ partner, Joe Cunningham, and wife Mary Ann, along with Rogers’ wife, Kathy, their daughters, Shawna and Lisa, hosted the reception at the Cunningham’s Miracle Valley Vineyard. His brothers-in-law, Michael Hasty of Luray and Kenny Hasty of Culpeper – known musically as The Hasty Brothers – provided the entertainment. About 70 attended to pay tribute to Rogers who turned 69 just two days later.
According to its citation, the Hope Award reflects the patriotism and service of Bob Hope, who for 50 years from World War II through Vietnam and to the Gulf War, visited remote outposts and isolated battleships to stage USO shows in war zones to entertain troops with song, dance, and comedy. Hope believed he gained more from the experience than he gave. “I hate war with all my guts,” the comedian told a crowd in 1971, “but I admire the guys with guts enough to fight them when they have to be fought.”
Hope was designated as the first honorary veteran by the U.S. Armed Forces. The honor was acknowledged by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton.
Our own Skip Rogers, in business in Front Royal for the past 10 years, is now among those citizens who have received one of the military’s highest honors awarded civilians who have dedicated their lives to the lives of active military, veterans, and their families.
WATCH: American Legion Community Band 2018 Christmas Concert
The American Legion Community Band presented its annual Christmas Concert on Tuesday, December 18, 2018 at 7:30 pm in the R-MA Boggs Chapel in Front Royal. It was a free concert although a love offering was collected totaling $785 for the local C-CAP charity. There was music to please everyone, including traditional carols, a beautiful chorale and light-hearted selections delighting kids and grown-ups alike. The Royal Examiner’s camera was there to capture the event. Now take time, watch and welcome Christmas with the celebration of music presented by the American Legion Band.
The American Legion Community Band performs at a variety of concerts and community festivals throughout the year. All performances are free and open to the public. Their repertoire is both versatile and traditional with works ranging from classical to popular, marches and operatic overtures to modern works for band. The band is sponsored by the Giles B. Cook Post #53 of the American Legion.
We spoke with the Conductors Ed Richards, Ron Dye and Kristen Fristoe after the concert.
Also there was a special guest in the audience. All he said was his name was “Nick”.
Daytime lane closures for lane striping on I66 between Route 28 and I-495 on December 19th
FAIRFAX, Va. – Rolling double-lane closures will take place on eastbound I-66 between Route 28 (Sully Road) and I-495 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., and westbound on I-66 between I-495 and Route 28 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Wednesday, December 19. Crews will be refreshing pavement markings as part of the I-66 Outside the Beltway Project.
Drivers are advised to use caution and expect potential delays.
Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and Checkpoint Strikeforce
The Front Royal Police Department will be participating in Virginia’s 17th annual Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign and enforcement will be from December 18th – January 3, 2019. This campaign is geared toward spreading awareness and to combat the rise in drunk driving deaths this holiday season. The 2018 campaign, which Governor Northam helped launch in August, combines high-visibility enforcement with researched based advertising to remind likely offenders to get a safe ride home.
Partnering with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” enforcement mobilization, the Front Royal Police Department will be conducting checkpoints and extra officers will be conducting saturation patrols during this holiday season.
“This time of year brings loved ones from all over the Commonwealth together to celebrate the holiday season,” said Chief Kahle Magalis “With the increased traffic, extra law enforcement officers will be working to apprehend impaired drivers and ensure our citizens get home safely to their families.”
High Knob home destroyed in Sunday fire, cause unknown
WARREN COUNTY – A late-night Sunday evening fire destroyed a Warren County home in the High Know Mountain neighborhood, according to a media release from Warren County Fire Marshal Gerry Maiatico.
The release states that around 11 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 16, fire and rescue units were dispatched to 81 Trent Trail Court for a reported residential structure fire. The 911 caller reported that visible flames could be seen on the exterior of the home and that the blaze had spread to two parked vehicles and the siding of the home.
The first unit arriving on the scene around 11:10 p.m. reported two passenger vehicles and a single-story, single family home involved in fire. Additionally, the fire was threatening additional structures and wildland areas surrounding them because the house was situated below the grade of the adjoining access road, as well as being perched along a steep ravine.
Maiatico said firefighters took a defensive approach and attempted to protect exposures until the arrival of additional resources.
During the incident, according to the release, firefighters encountered extreme hazardous conditions, including: below freezing temperatures, prevailing winds, icy roads, limited water supply, and difficult access. Firefighters remained on the scene throughout the night and morning to ensure full extinguishment of the fire and to ensure there was no threat to adjoining properties.
The cause of the fire was investigated by the Warren County Fire Marshal’s Office. Maiatico said that though Investigators have worked meticulously alongside the homeowner’s insurance company to determine the cause of the blaze, no conclusion has been reached.
The home, two vehicles, and an outbuilding were deemed a total loss. There were no reported injuries.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Fire Investigator Raymond Cross at 540-636-3830 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elks Lodge, Police provide an early Christmas to some area families
Front Royal World War II veteran’s memory honored 74 years on
On Dec. 17, 1944, a 21-year-old soldier from Front Royal was killed on the World War II battlefield in Europe.
On Dec. 16, 2018, 74 years later, members of his family gathered at his grave site in Front Royal’s historic Pioneer Cemetery to honor his memory.
Todd Lewis, who recently moved to Warren County and is a self-styled wartime historian, brought the group together after researching the soldier’s history. His narrative will be cited and the local soldier will be honored at next year’s Memorial Day ceremony at the Gazebo.
The soldier, who lost his life in the famed Battle of the Bulge – specifically the Malmeday Massacre – was Samuel Albert Hallman, born and educated in Front Royal and, when he enlisted, was working on the building of the former American Viscous site under the aegis of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Hallman, in the final year of the war, arrived in Fort Sill, Oklahoma for boot camp, then immediately was assigned to active duty in France and Belgium.
Less than a few months later, Hallman, a fresh-faced private with Battery B, 285 Field Artillery Observation Battalion, was dead, his name later etched on the memorial to all local Second World War veterans who died in the conflict. That memorial stands in the Warren County Courthouse grounds in downtown Front Royal.
Among family survivors who live in Warren County, and who were at the Pioneer Cemetery last Sunday, was Charlotte Partlowe of Stephens City, Hallman’s one remaining sister, now in her eighties and seven years younger than her brother, Sam. She said after the war their mother, Odessa, received Samuel’s decoration, the Purple Heart, from the war department. She recalled Sam going straight out to work from grade school to the CCC as a construction worker.
“Those were days (in the 1930s) when times were poor and jobs hard to get,” she recalled. She said her brother had turned 21 when he died. She would have been about 14. Charlotte recalled that during his youth Samuel was an ardent hunter and fisherman.
While there are more Hallmans in and outside the area, those who mourned at his graveside Sunday included three nephews, William, 60; John, 54; and Sam, 46, all of Front Royal. Sister Charlotte attended along with a niece, Belinda Hallman.
Faulkner, who did the research on Hallman, said the Malmeday Massacre, part of the better-known Battle of the Bulge, involved German SS troops firing first on Hallman’s battery, many of which stood, hands raised in surrender. They were mowed down by the German troops. Faulkner said Hallman survived the initial assault, making it to the shelter of a hedgerow, making plans to escape. In a break for it, Samuel was hit and severely wounded. Members of a tank crew walked down the lane where the Front Royal man was lying with his fellow soldiers. The German SS shot each of them to death with their pistols.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower spread news of the killings among American troops, later described as “the biggest massacre in U.S. Army history,” to effectively spur them on to eventual victory in the key Battle of the Bulge.
Samuel Albert Hallman – R.I.P.