As a veteran himself, Seven Gables Agent, Doug Willits has been volunteering for the Orange Field of Valor for three years now since its inception. Hosted annually, the Community Foundation of Orange pays tribute to honor local Veterans and Active Duty Military personnel. Over 1,776 flags flew this year and each one proudly represented a dedicated family or friend in the Orange Community. Willits woke up early each morning laying the groundwork for the event as a member of the Executive Board and Veterans Committee for the Community Foundation of Orange.
“I went down every morning at seven o’clock in the morning and made sure the flags were where they needed to be, dug post holes and prepared for the events that day,” said Willits. “I’m so proud to be a member of the Community Foundation of Orange and on the Field of Valor committee again this year. From the initial installation of 1,176 flags, to the carrying of the Air Force flag during opening ceremonies, to the emotional closing ceremony on Veterans Day, I have participated in an event that said thanks to all that have served in very special ways.”
Beginning November fifth and ending November eleventh, the Field of Valor was an honorable scene filled with groups visiting to pay tribute each day. From class field trips to the Boys and Girls Scouts of America, kids were taught proper flag etiquette and then toured the Field taking time to visit the Historical Flags section, Medal of Honor section and the Killed in Action section. The event ultimately would be a teaching tool for our community’s youth to understand the importance of learning about the sacrifices made by those who fought for our freedom.
“The Field of Valor with its 1,776 flags is a terrific way to pay respect and to honor those that have served in the military,” Willits said. “It is a reverend place with 1,776 muted voices, each with their own story of service to the Nation. I am so proud to be involved with the Community Foundation of Orange and especially with this event.”
During the week, the Field hosted a group of seniors who came to share their stories and memories from a different generation while each day that week brought about a new presentation from a veteran. Sergeant Douglas Milliken shared his first-hand account of Binh Tay 1, the largest U.S. helicopter combat assault of the Vietnam War on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The very next day, Corporal Fred Whitaker, Sr., a highly decorated World War II veteran, and Aviation Tech George Widly told stories of flying 23 missions in Korea.
We thank our veterans and we are proud of the communities in which our agents get to serve. Without the dedication and service to our nation that our veterans give us, preserving our security, our independence, and our freedom would not be possible.