Written by Kelly Kaczala
Monday, 22 September 2008 11:02
Clay High School alumnus Don Von Tress (’66), who served in the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam, has answered the call of assistance for the Oregon Vietnam Memorial Project from his home in Tennessee.
Von Tress is a twice-nominated Grammy Award songwriter. He is credited with writing the words to Billy Ray Cyrus’ 1992 mega hit Achy Breaky Heart.
When Von Tress was notified of the drive to establish a Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial, he was moved by the memory of two of his good friends from Clay High School, Gerald Corlett and Scott Corrello. The men died while serving in the Army in Vietnam.
Von Tress immediately sent a large cash donation and enlisted the assistance of Billy Ray Cyrus, who donated $1,000 to the project. Then Von Tress followed up by contacting his friend, K-100 on-air radio personality Cliff Smithers. Smithers and the radio station agreed to broadcast live at a fundraiser for the Oregon Vietnam Memorial Group.
To top things off, Von Tress sent a box of autographed compact discs of Billy Ray Cyrus’ Some Gave All CD and autographed photographs of the two musicians. They will be raffled off by the project committee.
On Saturday, September 27, the Oregon Vietnam Memorial Group, in conjunction with K-100, will host a motorcycle Bike Rally at the Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant on Navarre Avenue, in Oregon. Joining the restaurant and K-100 in sponsoring the event is Tim Sherman’s Signature Harley-Davidson of Perrysburg. The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. All motorcycle enthusiasts are invited, as are members of the community. The event will feature music, raffles and door prizes.
“The committee is extremely grateful for the kindness shown by Don (Von Tress),” said Jerry Eversman, chairman of the Oregon Vietnam Memorial Group. “A number of the veterans and committee members knew Don from their high school years and the such.
“Don sent a personal letter for each winner of the CD that he and Billy Ray put together and they will certainly be collector’s items for country music fans,” Eversman said.
The dedication ceremony for the memorial is less than a month away, noted Gene Shurtz, an Oregon resident who was an officer in the Americal Division in Vietnam. The ceremony will be held Oct. 8 at noon in Memorial Stadium at Clay High School.
The monument will honor all Vietnam veterans from the Oregon, Harbor View and Jerusalem Township areas and remember the eight Oregon servicemen who lost their lives in the war.
Shurtz is the chaplain for the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 35 and a member of the memorial project committee.