VVH Memorial Day: A tale of two heroes
by The Press and Standard | May 31, 2018 5:00 pm
Last Updated: May 30, 2018 at 10:48 am
Thomas H. Lewis Jr. brought his tale of two heroes to the Memorial Day service at the Veterans Victory House Nursing home the morning of May 28.
Lewis, a resident of Charleston, served in the U.S. Navy Submarine Service for 11 years on the USS Sam Rayburn, the USS James K. Polk and USS Francis Scott Key.
“What is a hero? How do you know them when you see them?” Lewis asked.
He said that growing up, his vision of a hero was formed by the movies. He learned “most heroes look like ordinary people.”
Sgt. Alvin York, Lewis said, “looked like a farmer — that’s what he was.” Audie Murphy was rejected by the military as under-aged and underweight.
Both were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Lewis’ heroes would not have been cast in the role by Hollywood either. Mason “Mickey” Dorsey and Thomas “Tommy” Lewis filled the bill by their actions, not their appearance.
The tale of Dorsey and Lewis had a special significance to the residents of Veterans Victory House. Dorsey was a resident of the nursing home until his death in the days between Memorial Day 2017 and Memorial Day 2018. He was one of 106 Veterans Victory House residents who passed away in those 365 days.
It also held special significance for Lewis. Dorsey was part of the Army unit that liberated the German prisoner of war hospital where Thomas Lewis spent nearly a year recovering from the injuries he sustained when the B-17 he crewed crashed into the side of a mountain.
The extraordinary military service of both men came together on that day. Lewis returned home to Jackson, Tenn., opened a business, married and became a father.
Lewis Jr. said he owed Dorsey “a debt that can never be repaid, He brought home my dad.”
Lewis Jr. was introduced by Rosemary Boling, DON Interim.
Administrator Sandra Ferguson welcomed the attendees and offered remarks later in the program. Janet Smith, the Colleton County Veterans Affairs officer, read the governor’s Memorial Day Proclamation.
Ferguson joined Resident Council President Isaac Blake in the laying of the wreath.
During the ceremonies, the Colleton County High School NJROTC color guard conducted the presentation and retrieval of the colors, and Timetra Webb performed “The Star Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America.”
Col. Ret. Doug Glover of the South Carolina Department of Mental Health led the attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance, and Chelsey Riles led the reciting of “The Lord’s Prayer.”
Pastor Godfrey Ritter of North Walterboro Baptist Church offered the invocation and Elder Phillip Taylor of Saints Center Ministry offered the benediction and grace.