Remembering those who served


EVANSTON — The Evanston Veteran’s Board and VFW members presided over a ceremony rededicating the Vietnam Memorial at the Uinta County Complex on Monday, May 31, at 11 a.m. Three names were added to the Vietnam memorial.

Veterans Board Chair Amelia Rutner welcomed the large crowd in attendance; VFW member John Willoughby opened with a prayer; the VFW honor guard provided a salute followed by “Taps” played by Dennis Lewis. Rebecca McFadden and Clarissa Cole then sang the National Anthem.

“We honor all of the men and women who have served to protect our country in the past wars and in the current longest 20-year war with 2.7 million having served in Iraq and Afghanistan. We honor their families and loved ones who stood by them. As I stand here today and see my father’s name on the memorial, I couldn’t be prouder,” Rutner said.

Steve Fowler read the bio of Elwood Birch, whose name had been added to the Vietnam memorial. Birch was born and raised in Evanston by local nurse and single mom, Karma Birch. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1969 and served through April 1973.

Birch was the recipient of many service awards including the National Defense Service; Republic of Vietnam Service with four Bronze Stars; Vietnam Campaign Medal with Device; and the Navy Achievement Medal for Professional Achievement as lead petty officer of Second Division while attached to and serving on the USS Mauna Kea. Post military, Birch attended Ventura College in California on the GI Bill where he met his wife Lynn and they moved back to Wyoming where they still reside.

The second veteran to be added to the Vietnam memorial was Fawzy Malouf. Penny Contos read his bio. Malouf was born and raised in Evanston on a ranch and attended the University of Wyoming. In his senior year at UW he was drafted into the Army and served in Vietnam from 1968 through 1969. After serving in Vietnam, he returned to UW to finish his degree in Animal Husbandry and purchased a ranch in Oregon. He has since retired and he and his wife Margo are now living in Maricopa, Arizona.

George Evans was the third veteran to be honored by having his name added to the memorial. Dennis Keefer read his bio. Evans was born and raised in Evanston and served on active duty in the U.S. Air Force (1972-1975). He received specialty training in electronics/ground radio repair; sharp shooter; and had Top Secret security clearance. He served with the 2nd Mobile Communications Group, Lindsey Airstation, Wiesbaden, Germany. After his military service he attended college on the G.I. bill and earned an engineering degree from State University of New York. Evans is now retired and living in Littleton, Colorado.

Birch and Evans were in attendance at the ceremony and were presented with special VFW pins and a wreath which together they placed at the Vietnam memorial.

Rutner then asked for a moment of silence in memory of those who lost their lives for their country. Following the conclusion of the ceremony, the local VFW had served a barbecue lunch of hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, a drink and a cookie for a $5 donation.

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