WORLD WAR II CONNECTION – Sadly, Father Time and the Grim Reaper are quickly claiming the nation’s World War II veterans. In fact, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recently calculated that the U.S. is losing 372 World War II veterans per day and estimates that only 350,000 of the 16 million Americans who served in that war still survived as of 2018.
Locally, I know that death has claimed several of our remaining Jackson County World War II veterans in recent months. Unfortunately, there is no official roster available of the remaining World War II veterans in Jackson County, but one of them Douglas (Pete) Cosby celebrated his 99th birthday on Thursday, Jan. 31. Other local remaining World War II vets which I am aware of are: Clyde McCoy, Clarence Bowman, Roy Gilliland, Samuel D. Morgan, Charlie Kirkendall, Rollie Fetherolf, Walter Bowman, Ronald R. Martin, Donald G. Ousley, William E. Parsons, Carl Taylor, and Vernon C. Young. If there are others, please let me know so they can receive continuing recognition for their service to America.
We certainly hope that Jackson County Veterans Organization leader Ron Speakman is successful in his efforts to honor and recognize all deceased and living Jackson County World War II veterans with his project to recreate a local World War II Roll of Honor at Jackson County Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Jackson. (See accompanying photo.)
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JPD RETIREMENT CONNECTION – Yet another retirement party was conducted last Wednesday, Feb. 27 when the Jackson Police Department (JPD) said their professional good-byes to Assistant Police Chief Maria Uribe, who was putting the wraps on a 34-year career which included a 17-year stint as the assistant chief. Uribe will forever have the distinction of being the department’s first-ever female officer.
Uribe began her career with JPD as a meter maid and I remember it was considered a major development back in the mid-1980s when she was promoted to become a regular road officer. Along the way, she served for 10 years as the DARE officer at the local school systems and even started the Pride Drug-Free Club, which was a social club for teens that picked up where the DARE program had left off. She also focused on community policing and worked with the Morton Street Neighborhood Watch group.
In the many years I have covered the local law enforcement beat, I have always found Uribe to be unfailingly polite, courteous, professional and knowledgeable. Her behind-the-scenes work as an administrator was invaluable to the department and she will definitely be missed. At this point, no decision has been made or at least publicly announced about whether the assistant chief’s position will be replaced. Uribe was the seventh JPD officer to retire or leave the force since early 2018.
Yet another retirement took effect today, Wednesday, March 13 (the eighth), as veteran Patrolman Jim Callahan is ending his 30-year career with JPD. Callahan was a hometown boy who grew up in Jackson and graduated from Jackson High School in 1975. 
Here’s what the Jackson Police Department posted on its Facebook page: “Patrolman Callahan began his service on February 23, 1989 and had the privilege of serving our fine community for a little over 30 years. To say he will be missed is an understatement! Ptl. Callahan always did his best to help all individuals of this community. We wish Ptl. Callahan, his wife Tina, and family the best. Please extend your congratulations to Ptl. Callahan. His final day at the Jackson Police Department will be March 13, 2019.”
Due to my many years in the local media, I’ve had the privilege of working with Jim his entire career at JPD and found him to be a stand-up guy who quietly went about his business every day, treated everybody the same, and always tried to do his best. The fact that he knew the town well and the people in it helped him in doing his job, and his knowledge, experience and common sense served him well as a police officer. It’s a testament to Jim’s standing in the community that the Facebook post announcing his retirement drew an incredible 511 likes and 306 comments; that’s close to rock-star status.
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That’s About It… Be Seeing You.