First inductees chosen for wall of honor
DANVILLE — Six local veterans will be the first inductees to the Kenneth D. Bailey Academy's Wall of Honor.
They will be inducted at an honors assembly at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at the academy, 502 E. Main St. They also will be introduced at Danville High's Salute to Veterans Concert at the Dick Van Dyke Auditorium, 202 E. Fairchild St., at 7 that evening.
Established this year at the Danville school district's alternative school, the Wall of Honor recognizes Vermilion County veterans with decorated military careers and records of community service.
Inductees' pictures will be hung on the wall opposite of the Kenneth D. Bailey mural. Principal Tracy Cherry said they will serve as role models to the middle- and high-school-aged students like the school's namesake, a Marine major from Danville who received the Medal of Honor after he died in combat at Guadalcanal during World War II.
Here's a look at the inductees.
WILLIAM E. FULTON
Fulton served in the U.S. Army from 1967-69, including 10 months in Vietnam. He moved to Danville in 1971 and owned and operated Terminix until he retired in 2003.
An active member of the Danville Chapter of AMBUCS since the 1970s, Fulton led an effort to raise more than $500,000 in donations and in-kind services to build the AMBUCS Playground for Everyone at Winter Park in 2001. Since then, he and the organization also built Independence Playground at Lincoln Park and the AMBUCS Sprayground for Everyone at Garfield Park.
Fulton donated $100,000 to the national AMBUCS organization to provide AmTrykes, therapeutic bicycles on a tricycle platform, that allow handicapped people from children to seniors cycle safely. After he kick-started the program, AMBUCS has been able to provide Amtrykes to veterans with disabilities across the country.
In addition, he volunteers at the organization's annual summer camp for children and serves as a buddy for handicapped children during Challenger League baseball games. Fulton was named the club's First Citizen of Danville in 2008 and has served and serves on various local boards.
SANDRA JUANITA GUTIERREZ
Gutierrez served in the Illinois National Guard from 1983 to 1989.
A native of Laredo, Texas, and the daughter of migrant farm workers, she moved to Danville in 1972 and married soon after graduating from high school. She had two children before she enrolled in college. At that time, she was an outreach worker at the Illinois Migrant Council in Hoopeston.
Gutierrez earned an associate degree from Danville Area Community College, a bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois and a master's degrees from Eastern Illinois University while raising her family and serving in the National Guard. She became a strong advocate of education.
Gutierrez has dedicated her life to assisting the local Latino community. As a professional interpreter, she helps Spanish-speaking immigrants navigate the complexities of the federal and county court systems and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
She has also published a Spanish-English community newspaper, Tejanita, for Latinos in the Danville and Champaign areas.
JULIUS W. HEGELER II
A Danville native, Hegeler served in the U.S. Air Force after graduating from Millikin University in 1950. A jet fighter pilot in the Korean War, he flew in 70 combat missions and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross.
In 1955, Hegeler returned to Danville and co-founded Peterson Filling and Packaging which later became Peterson/Puritan Inc., the world's largest contract packager of chemical specialties.
In 1992, Hegeler formed the Julius W. Hegeler II Foundation. His donations have benefited the Danville Public Schools Foundation, Danville Area Community College Foundation, Presence United Samaritans Medical Center Foundation, the county parks, the United Way of Danville Area, the Vermilion County Museum,local arts organizations and many other causes.
Hegeler is a member of Danville High's Wall of Fame and a past AMBUCS First Citizen.
HAROLD J. KLAMAN
Klaman served in the Army Corps from 1943-45 during World War II. He left for training during the spring of his senior year at Danville High, and his mother received his diploma on his behalf at graduation.
Stationed in England, Klaman was part of the 493rd Bomb Group, Squadron 861. His plane was a B-17 Flying Fortress named The Milk Run. He served as the lead bombardier on over half of its missions that targeted oil refineries, railroad yards, bridges, tunnels and ammunition dumps deep in Germany. His crew completed 25 missions without being shot down or losing any airmen. He was discharged in August 1945, with the rank of first lieutenant.
Klaman returned to Danville, earned his teaching degree and started his 33-year career with Danville public schools in 1950. He taught and coached at Franklin, Edison and Collett Schools from 1950-58. From 1958-64, Klaman served as principal of Fairchild and Lincoln Schools. He was the longest serving principal of East Park, serving in this capacity for 13 years from 1964-77. He served as director of health and career education until his retirement in 1983.
Klaman has served on the Danville Housing Authority board, and currently is a member of St. Paul's Catholic Church.
EARL EDWARD RUMBAUGH JR.
After graduating from Danville High in 1946 and Loyola University of New Orleans, Rumbaugh began his career as an Army officer. He served in the Korean War, the Berlin Crisis, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and did two tours of duty in Vietnam.
Rumbaugh was a member of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He was the recipient of three Legions of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star, the Joint Services Commendation, the Army Commendation, and the Combat Infantry Badge. He also served as a Danville police officer from 1954-59 and Danville's Emergency Services director from 1989-94.
Rumbaugh served on the YMCA board, Danville Traffic Commission, Chamber of Commerce Safety Committee, Center for Children's Services board and Vermilion County Merit Commission. He is a member of the American Legion Post 210, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Knights of Columbus, Elks Lodge 232, Danville Boat Club, Danville Country Club, Corvette Cruisers, and since 1989, the Kiwanis Club. He is a graduate of the Disney School of Chefs and hosted the WDAN show, "Cooking with the Colonel," from 1990-96.
HAROLD G. 'SPARKY' SONGER
Songer was drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II in July 1943. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes Forest as a mortarman of the 106th Infantry Division, was captured by the Germans and survived captivity as a prisoner of war.
Songer re-enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1951 and served in both the Korean and Vietnam wars as flight support. He was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.
After retiring from the military in 1971, Songer served as coordinator of Veterans Affairs at Danville Area Community College from 1979-94.
Songer donated thousands of hours of his time to honor local veterans in a variety of ways. Along with Harold Leisch, he spearheaded efforts to collect aluminum cans and donations to build the World War II, Korean-Vietnam and women veterans' monuments on Hazel Street. He also was a driving force in the creation of the Vermilion County War Museum, where he volunteered and served as president.
Songer is a past AMBUCS First Citizen. He also received the Studs Terkel Award in 2004.