UDC honors four ex-military men


Colonel William F. Slemons Chapter 977 held a luncheon April 30 at the Monticello Country Club to honor four ex-military men at the Crosses of Military Service Ceremony. The men were ex-Mayor David Anderson, a Vietnam veteran, Larry Fuller, a former Air Force veteran during the Korean Conflict, Levin Johnson and Joe Rawls of Rison, who were former Army veterans serving during the Korean Conflict.

Beth Thurman, president welcomed the assembly. Connie Mullis then made a few announcements. Before the meal, an invocation was given by Chaplain Diane Mazanti from Grady. The Country Club served a wonderful meal, which was enjoyed by all.

As Anderson was actively involved in the fighting during the Vietnam War, he was honored by having the Vietnam Cross of Military Service bestowed upon him. After Sue Johnson, Registrar, led the group in “Blest Be the Tie.” The National Defense Medal presentation ceremony followed for the other men. Fuller, Johnson, and Rawls were serving in the military at the time of the Korean Conflict but not actively in the fighting, which qualified them for National Defense Medals.

President Beth Thurman presided over the luncheon and bestowal ceremony, and Jan West, the Recorder of Military Crosses, was her assistant in the presentation.

After the awards ceremony, the group enjoyed an interesting presentation by Richard Ledbetter from Fordyce. Ledbetter is presently writing articles for the SEALife magazine published by the Pine Bluff Commercial. He is an organic farmer, equestrian trainer, and the author of two books: “The Branch and the Vine” and “The Witness Tree”.

Both are historical novels. The first tells of the exploits of Ledbetter’s great-grandfather and his brothers during their service under Nathan Bedford Forest during the War Between the States.

The second is a sequel that tells about Reconstruction and the early days of Hot Springs. They contain regional history and heritage of Arkansas and the South.

At present, Ledbetter has begun work on a third novel, as well as having acted in “Come Morning”, a feature-length dramatic thriller, written and directed by Derrick Sims. In the recently released film, “Mud”, starring Matthew McConahey, Ledbetter says his truck upstaged him as it was used many times during the movie.

Ledbetter brought his books with him for purchase, and they can be found online and in various locations in Cleveland and Jefferson Counties.

The luncheon and program concluded with Diane Mazanti leading the group in a benediction.

Anyone from Southeast Arkansas is welcome to join. Call Mrs. Levin (Sue) Johnson, Registrar, for information.