Jay VFW holds 31st consecutive POW/MIA recognition service

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POW/MIA Recognition Service in Jay.

JAY – This weekend, the Jay Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3335 and neighboring veterans’ organizations joined to recognize and remember those who were prisoners of war or missing in action.

National POW/MIA Recognition Day was Friday, September 15, and Jay VFW Post hosted a service on Saturday, September 16. The service began at the memorial on Riley Road with a short wreath-laying and a 21-gun salute, then relocated to the Jay VFW Post on Jewell Street for the remainder of the event due to the weather.

Jim Manter, Judge Advocate for VFW POST 3335, US Navy, Retired, acted as the Master of Ceremonies. This is the 31st consecutive year that Post 3335 has held a service to recognize those absent and the families left behind.

Several guests of honor were recognized during the service, including: Juanita Craft and family, from Livermore, wife of the late Charlie Craft, US Army, Livermore, PRISONER Of WAR, Vietnam, 787 days; John and Rose Dyke, from Canton, in remembrance of Rose’s brother John Brooke, Bryant Pond, MISSING In ACTION, Vietnam; John Nutting Jr., from Leeds, son of Capt. John Nutting Sr., US Air Force, Leeds, MISSING IN ACTION, shot down in a B-29 in the Korean War.

Sue White, great-niece of the late Sgt. Zelwood Gravlin of Phillips, was unable to attend, but Manter spoke about Gravlin. Gravlin, 21, was lost over Romania in Operation Tidal Wave during World War Two. He was identified and returned home in November of 2022, to be buried in Avon next to his mother.

Post 3335 was honored to participate in the services to return Gravlin home last year. Bringing home those veterans who never returned is the goal of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA). Post 3335 had originally hoped for a representative from DPAA to speak at the services this weekend but that agency, which deals primarily in forensics, was reassigned to Hawaii to help the fire victims on Maui and representatives were unable to make the trip to Maine. Manter said that they will look to reschedule when possible.

In addition, David Richmond, director of the State of Maine Bureau of Veterans Services attended and shared a letter from Governor Janet Mills.

Sheila Lyman, State Representative for District 74, was also in attendance and presented John Dube with an award recognizing his years of hard work and dedication to maintaining the memorial at Riley Road. John Dube was surprised and grateful for the recognition.


John Dube and Rep. Sheila Lyman.


Others in attendance who helped with the events of the day included VFW Post 3335 Commander Rick Merrill and Auxiliary President Gail Dube; AMVETS Post 33 Commander Wayne Buckingham and Auxiliary President Marlene Walker; American Legion Post 10 Commander Jocelyn Mosher-Collins; Farmington VFW Post 10881 Commander Gordan Weber; the firing squad for the salute; United Bikers; Androscoggin and Franklin County Sheriff’s Offices; Livermore Falls and Jay Police Departments; NorthStar Ambulance; and musicians Jan and Tom Gill and special guest singer Elyssa Yannelli, 13, an eighth-grade student at Spruce Mountain Middle School.

Manter said this is the 30th consecutive year the United Bikers have participated, and their ride has special significance as they travel 18 miles, symbolizing Maine’s 18 MIAs of the Vietnam era.

“As a community, we should consider it a duty, to come together, to show our support and admiration for our local friends and families who have sacrificed so much,” Manter said.


During the final song of the service, ‘God Bless America’, those gathered stood and held hands together.
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