Deceased Army soldier to get headstone, military honors
Fifty-four years after his interment at Garden of Peace Cemetery, Army Pfc. Henry Van Demps will finally get some long-overdue recognition.
Demps, who died at age 22 on a tour of duty in south Vietnam, has lain in an unmarked grave in the Plant City cemetery since Sept. 3, 1966. That’s going to change next week. At 4 p.m. Nov. 10, Demps will be given a government-issued headstone and a military honors ceremony with the playing of Taps, a rifle detail and the Durant High School JROTC Color Guard. Cemetery Operations Department Superintendent Jeff Black coordinated the ceremony with the Army Casualty Assistance Office at Fort Stewart, Georgia.
This was made possible by a joint effort between the City of Plant City Cemetery Operations Office and the Coffelt Group, which is an organization that compiles a database of the military men and women who died in the Vietnam War. Representatives from the Coffelt Group and the Hillsborough County Veterans Services Office will join relatives of Demps at the ceremony.
Pre-election night of prayer held Monday
Though division has been a major talking point in the 2020 general election, Plant City came together Monday night for a display of unity.
Church and civic leaders from Plant City hosted the Patriotic Night of Prayer at McCall Park in an effort to bring people together through the power of non-partisan prayer. After Charleene Closshey performed the national anthem, Mayor Rick Lott led the Pledge of Allegiance and spoke before a round of pastors — Michael Pippin, Calvin Callins, Brian Stowe and Carlos Ramirez — came up to pray. Commissioner Mary Mathis closed the event with a prayer of her own. Parks and Recreation Department Director Jack Holland said more than 100 people attended the event.
Parks and Rec department congratulates longtime employee, new retiree
On Friday, the Plant City Parks and Recreation Department said farewell to a long-serving employee.
Landscape Crew Groundskeeper I Juan Ortiz, 79, “hung up his steel toes” on Oct. 30 after 13 and a half years in the city’s Parks division.
“At 79 years of age, his retirement is well-earned,” the department said din a press release. “(We are) thankful for his hard work and dedication!”
Durant alumna wins scholarship
Railroad & Industrial Federal Credit Union recently announced this year’s group of scholarship winners through its All Aboard Youth Program, and one of the six recipients graduated from a Plant City-area high school.
Carissa Rodriguez, who graduated from Durant High School, earned a $500 scholarship through the program. Rodriguez graduated with a 7.21 GPA and plans to study nursing at Hillsborough Community College.
Scholarship recipients were chosen based on categories “including, but not limited to, Community Involvement, Educational Accolades, Overall Grade Point Average, and Credit Union knowledge,” RIFCU said in a press release. Applicants must be RIFCU members in good standing.
An earlier version of the article “Mike Windom need Master Pilot” said Windom flew a B-52. He flew a B-25 and the text has been updated online.
An earlier version of the article “‘Our votes matter:’ Local church organizes march to library for early voting” identified Maurice Wilson as the pastor of Greater St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church. Wilson is an associate minister of the church and the text has been updated online.