Volunteers needed to help honor veteran

Linn County Leader

United States Navy Sailor George Merton Gooch, a Laclede native was killed in action during World War II on the Battleship USS Oklahoma when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. His remains were identified on Sept. 14, using familial DNA from his great-nephew, David Morrow.

Gooch will be laid to rest at 1 p.m., on Saturday, Oct. 9 Petty Officer Gooch will be laid-to-rest in the Laclede Cemetery with full military honors conducted by the United States Navy. 

Volunteers from the Laclede area asked to support “The Flagman’s Mission Continues” setting up US Flags for the funeral.

George Merton Gooch

null"Help is needed to set up 500 plus US 3x5 foot flags on Friday Oct. 8 in Laclede for the funeral of Navy Petty Officer Third Class George Merton Gooch, WWII KIA during the attack on Pearl Harbor onboard the USS OKLAHOMA (BB-37)," said Jeffrey Hastings president with the Flagman’s Mission Continues said. "After the event concludes, help is needed on Sunday Oct. 10 to take the flags down and reload them into the van."

Those wishing to help set up flags are asked to meet at 10 a.m., on Friday at 306 Grove Street,  which is next to the Laclede Cemetery.  Hastings will provide instruction on how to use the post drivers and how to unfurl the flags for display.  Please bring work gloves and wear comfortable walking shoes.

"Anyone able to walk and carry 10 lbs., can help. We will be putting up flags, rain or shine," Hastings said. "Pickup trucks are most welcome and are very useful in taking the flags from the van to the setup locations.  We prefer volunteers 12 years and older."

Please support the community and show your respect to the family during this emotional time of closure.  At 1 p.m., on Saturday, Oct. 9 Petty Officer Gooch will be laid-to-rest in the Laclede Cemetery with full military honors conducted by the United States Navy.  Services are under the direction of Rhodes Funeral Home.

Flags will be taken down beginning at 9 a.m., on Sunday, Oct. 10 at 306 Grove Street in Laclede.  Hastings will provide instructions on how to prepare the flags to put back in the van.  Pickup trucks are again most welcome.  Please bring work gloves.

"Normally setup and take down can be completed in just over an hour.  A very worthwhile and enjoyable use of your volunteer time," Hastings said. "Bring your cameras – the flags provide a lot of photo opportunities that can be shared with the family and others in the community!  Show your support for the Gooch family and the Laclede community."

For more information call or text Jeff Hastings at 618-409-0323.  For information about “The Flagman’s Mission Continues”,  visit www.theflagmanmission.org.