Happy to help local family get their Five Star Service Flag


It all started with an old, dog-eared Oroville Weekly Gazette clipping found with his late mother’s things. An e-mail from California to the Gazette-Tribune and a Veteran’s Day article and soon Thomas Wilburn was going to have his wish fulfilled — a promise the U.S. military made to his grandparents nearly 70 years ago — a Five Star Service Flag representing the five children all involved in the war effort during World War II.

Managing Editor Gary DeVonThe American Legion, Hodges Post 84, of Oroville, will purchase the flag and present it to the family, according to Post Commander R. L. “Louie” Wilson. He’s the man that gave Wilburn a call after reading the article in the G-T last week.

“We are going to get that banner for him, the Legion is going to supply it for the family, it is long overdue,” said Commander Wilson.

“Once again we are making good on someone else’s promise,” Wilson said.

No truer words were probably ever spoken about those who have faithfully served our country. How many times have we asked our sons and daughters to fulfill a promise… fight our battles, protect our country and defend our rights? Not only that, they are called upon to give aid like in the Philippines where they’ve been called to help out victims of Typhoon Haiyan. Our service men and women have made the sacrifices and continue to do so today on several fronts.

So it is a pleasure to learn that the G-T and the article we wrote played at least a small part in helping to get the remaining members of the Thornton family their Five Star Service Flag. Even with all the fighting going on today it’s hard to imagine one family in rural America that gave so much for their country when they were called — five of their sons and daughters.

We hope our veterans realize how much they are appreciated and know that they deserve all the assemblies, parades, cards letters and thanks we can give them — not just on Veterans Day but every day.

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He has a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.

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