The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

November 8, 2013

Our Town: Local WWII veteran takes trip to Washington, D.C.

Palestine Herald-Press


Tyler-based Brookshire’s Grocery Co. recently sponsored a trip to Washington, D.C. for a group of East Texas World War II veterans in order to allow them to visit the WWII Memorial and other U.S. Monuments in October.

Anderson County resident Frank McMullen, was one of 27 WWII veterans from the area to make the trip.

After eating breakfast at Brookshire's Fresh, the motorcade of veterans was escorted to Interstate 20; and upon departure from DFW, fire trucks lined both sides of the plane saluting the group as they taxied the runway.

Upon their arrival in D.C., the group drove directly to the Capitol, where they ate dinner and were given historical information concerning the capitol on a tour led by Representative Louie Gohmert. Gohmert gave each veteran an American flag with a certificate stating it had been flown over the capitol on July 4.

U.S. Congressman Jeb Hensarling, R-Dallas, took a few minutes from his committee meeting to visit with the veterans.

The next day, the veterans watched the “Changing of the Guard” at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and placed a wreath on the grave.

Inclement weather kept them from viewing the WWII Memorial on their first attempt, so their next stop was the US Navy Memorial and later to the KC Hall in Alexandria, where the group was entertained with a 5-piece band, square dancers and meal.

They received letters from local students, a book, a CD and various items in a “goodie bag.”

On the last day of the trip, the group visited the Air Force Memorial and made their second attempt to see the WWII Memorial.

Fortunately, the rain stopped just as they arrived and a picture-fest ensued there.

The group also visited the Vietnam and Korean War Memorials before returning to Texas. They were unable to visit the Air and Space Museum, Iwo Jima, MLK, FDR, Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials due to the government shut down.

McMullen served in the Navy from 1944-1949.

He said that he enjoyed the trip and is very grateful to Brookshire’s for their generosity and this wonderful opportunity.

“They spared no expense; they really rolled out the red carpet for us,” he said.

A banquet will be held in Tyler for the veterans on Dec. 6, where they will receive their final memento-pictures and a CD documenting their trip.


Native's son named A&M police chief

J. Michael Ragan, the son of Anderson County native and Palestine resident Mildred Hardy Ragan, was recently named chief of Texas A&M University Police Department in Bryan-College Station.

Ragan, a 33-year veteran with the A&M police force, has served as interim chief since the former chief's retirement in April, according to information provided by the family.

The decision to appoint Ragan as the department's new chief came after a 12-person search advisory committee made up of faculty, staff and student representatives formed in April.

They looked through 16 applications, had Skype interviews with five candidates and narrowed down the pool of applicants to three candidates, who had on-campus interviews that lasted a day and a half each in late September and early October.

Ragan, who grew up in Houston, joined the police department in 1980 as he worked toward a bachelor's degree in economics at A&M, which he received in 1983. He also is a graduate of the 141st session of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va.

Ragan is the son of James Ragan of Tyler.


Scouting for Food

Cub Scouts with Palestine Troop 440 will be putting out flyers Saturday with information about Scouting for Food, a program that the East Texas Area Council Boy Scouts of America is participating in.

The program is a community effort to feed those who might otherwise go hungry. Residents are asked to put nonperishable foods they would like to donate to the local food pantry in a bag and set the bag on their front porch by 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 16.

Local Cub Scouts will be packing up food for the local food pantry, the Stock Pot in Palestine.


Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at