Green River Star -

By Stephanie Thompson
People Editor 

Veterans honored at center


November 14, 2018

Stephanie Thompson

U.S. Navy Air Force veteran, Lawrence Lowell, listens while another veteran describes his job in the U.S. Army.

As patriotic music played, Green River veterans gathered for a free meal and fellowship.

On Friday, the Golden Hour Senior Center provided all veterans with a free meal, including a French dip, wedge fries, broccoli salad, peaches and a dessert.

To start the program, Boy Scouts from Troop 312 presented the American and Wyoming flags. Then, the veterans listened to a poem and watched pictures of themselves on the screen.

Seniors were asked to bring in pictures of their favorite veterans to share during the short ceremony.

The meal was then served by GHSC employees and the Boy Scouts, while veterans talked to each other about their service. 

One veteran, James Mahana said he served 35 years in the military. Some joked that he had to quit each branch and change his name to get in another one. Mahana took it lightly and just laughed.

He served in the U.S. Army, the Wyoming National Guard, the Air Force and the Army Reserve. Mahana has seen a lot and is one of few who can say he served during the Vietnam War and later was in Afghanistan in 2005.

He thought being honored at the senior center was great, but it brought up an even better memory.

Mahana said there were about 15 soldiers, including himself, returning home from Afghanistan on a plane. When the plane landed, everyone waited for the soldiers to get off of the plane first as a way to thank them for their service. 

"It brought tears to my eyes," Mahana said.

"It really was (great) compared to how we were treated in Vietnam," he said.

But he didn't reflect on it much, just said it was horrible how they were treated when they returned home.

Mahana said it's nice to see such a change and that's why he's served for so long.

"This is America. You can do whatever you want in America," Mahana said.

That's the way he likes it. He said he was present when the Afghan women cast their votes and were happy to show their fingers colored in blue or purple. He said they would dip their fingers in ink and then use their fingerprint to vote. That's something he will never forget.

Another veteran, Roy Cochran was in the U.S. Army in France in the 60s. He was a radar technician and all he could say to describe he job was three words, "It was hairy." 

The lunch was special for the veterans and a way for them to share each others stories and experiences.


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