Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Friends of Dean Park, Inc. Honors its Active Members who are Veterans

Friends of Dean Park Inc. is honored to have the following veterans actively involved in the restoration of Dean Park - the park that most of them grew up in as 4-H Clubbers under the leadership of Mr. Milton E. Dean. Most of them continue to be farmers or gardeners in Winston County. They are among the Winston County veterans living proud and strong in the land they have helped to keep free. Much like President Obama who stated at a ceremony held at Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day, "We join as one people to honor a debt we cannot fully repay."

Rev. Dr. Jack Miller was drafted into the United Army while attending the University of Rochester, NY. Prior to that, he was a student at Tougaloo University, Tougaloo, MS where he met his wife, Teresia. Rev. Miller served 3 years in the army with one year tour of duty in Vietnam in 1968. He was a surgeon assistant. He retired from Regional Federal Assurance of the Midwest on April 26, 2006 as an assurance specialist. Later, Rev. Miller moved back to Louisville, MS as an ordained minister who spends time as a small farmer and community servant. He serves on the Louisville Medical Center’s Board of Directors. He was appointed by District 1 Supervisor Burr Warner to the Dean Park Commission where he has served as chairman for 5 years. He is a founding member of the Friends of Dean Park, Inc. He has one child and 5 grandchildren.

Willie Therman Eichelberger was honorably discharged from the United States Army June 1969 after serving 2 years of active duty in Berlin, Germany. After his discharge, he served 4 years in the Army Reserves. Therman was employed in Cleveland, OH by Kroger Foods for 18 years. He and his family moved back to Louisville, MS to help care for his elderly parents. He was employed by Georgia Pacific from which he retired after 18 years. He lives near Dean Park and has always has an interest in its renovation. He joined with others and became a founding member of the Friend of Dean Park, Inc. May 2008. He was later appointed by District 4 Supervisor Lamar Turnipseed to the Dean Park Commission. Presently, he serves as the vice chairman of the Dean Park Commission. It is because of Therman’s perseverance that there is more grass at the park near the pavilion. Also, he and his deceased brother, Lee Eichelberger, Jr., transplanted most of the cannas plants, some of the crepe myrtles and all of the amaryllis in and around the park. Therman is married to Dempsey Eichelberger and they have two children.

Willie James Holman is a veteran of the US Army. He served for 3 years with two years in Vietnam as a Military Police from July 1, 1968 – June 30, 1971. Afterwards, he served 6 years in the US Army Reserves. Willie was drafted into the army after completing 2 years at Mississippi Valley State University, Itta Bena, MS. He returned home in Louisville to work at Georgia Pacific for 2 years before moving to St. Louis, MO. He eventually moved back to Louisville to retire from Southern Natural Gas Co. after 25 years of employment at 48 years of age. Willie was recently appointed by District 3 Supervisor Mike Peterson to the Dean Park Commission. He has four children.

Melvin Davis is a veteran of the US Air Force serving from 1956 – 1960 during the Korean Conflict. . He was born and raised in Petersburg, VA; presently lives part time in Richmond, CA and part time in Louisville, MS. He earned an AA Degree from Contra Costa College, Richmond, CA in Business Management. He is a retired business owner whose business was industrial chemicals. Melvin is a 32 year member of the Masons and Shriners with a 33rd Degree. He is a founding member of the Friends of Dean Park, Inc. He brings to the FODP his skills as a Disc Jockey, as Dr. Mel-O-Mix Master, for special events. He also used his skills as a businessman to help get FODP incorporated. He is married to Mattie Eichelberger-Davis. They have one son and one grandson.

Calvin D. Hampton, Msgt Ret. US Air Force, service dates July 19, 1964 - July 19, 1968 and September 21, 1972 - August 1, 1992. He serviced as an Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC): Security Police Manager for 16 years. He fought in Vietnam (Da Nang and Monkey Mountain) for one year; served in direct support for Invasions of Grenada 1983. He helped with the planning and implementation of Desert Shield/Desert Storm 1990/91. After retirement, Calvin received a Master of Science Degree (School Leadership) May 2002 from MSU and became a School Principal in Starkville, MS - retiring in 2007. He is an active member of FODP, normally at the gate collecting donations for festivals, volunteering on Beautification Days and helping with other events. He is married to Linda M. Vaughn-Hampton.

Tommy Ray Hopkins, an honorably discharged veteran completed a tour of duty in Vietnam while serving in supplies in the US Army. He was enlisted from 1969 – 1970 for 18 months. Because he went directly to Vietnam after basic training, he was given an early discharge by 6 months. Tommy joined the National Guard and was eventually activated to Desert Storm in 1983. However, prior to his unit departing, the war ended. He worked in the mortar section while in the National Guard. Tommy retired with 24 years of military service in 2005. Tommy also retired from Taylor Machine Works several years ago. Tommy is an active member of the FODP working at the gate and on Beautification Days. He also serves on the Special Projects Committee as chairman. He is married to Janice Eichelberger-Hopkins and they have 4 children.

Samuel D. Eichelberger was honorably discharged from the United States Army in 1972 after servicing from 1969. He spent most of his time serving in South Korea where he was injured from frostbites to his feet. He spent nearly 10 years in Milwaukee, WI working at Hotpoint, and A. O. Smith, Inc., after his discharge. He later returned to the farm that he was born on in Louisville, MS. He has one child, Lorenda Eichelberger. Before retiring as a disabled veteran, he worked throughout Winston County as a carpenter/handyman. As a member of the Friends of Dean Park, Inc., he has done volunteer work as a handyman, plumber and carpenter. He helped to build the Raised Bed Gardens.

Paul Eichelberger, and honorably discharged veteran, was drafted into the US Army in 1974 and served until 1985. Most of his time was served in Nuremberg and Stuttgart, West Germany as a communication and supply specialist. He was also stationed in Fort Hood, TX and Fort Jackson, SC. Later he moved back home to Louisville and continued the same work while driving a school bus. He attended school at East Center Community College and worked in Little Rock, AR as a handyman, plumber and carpenter. As a member of the Friends of Dean Park, Inc., he has done volunteer work as a handyman, plumber and carpenter. He helped to build the Raised Bed Gardens. Paul is married to Rita Jackson-Eichelberger and they have two daughters.

Story and pictures by: Elmetra Patterson

FODP is a nonprofit charitable organization whose main mission is to assist with the upkeep of Dean Park; provide programs and activities and raise funds for special projects. To make tax deductible donations, please mail to:

Friends of Dean Park, Inc.
P. O. Box 365
Louisville, MS 39339
Contact Info: Elder Richard Moncrief – 662.736-3323
Elmetra Patterson – 510.672-2106