Fallen Hero, Veterans Honored
(June 30, 2010)
Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Proctor
stand next to Maj. Gen. and Mrs. R. Martin
Umbarger at the Proctor Park memorial in
Whiteland, Ind., June 19. Umbarger and his wife
donated the engraved bench in honor of Mr. and
Mrs. Proctor's late son, Sgt. Joseph Proctor, a
New Whiteland native who made the ultimate
sacrifice, May 3, 2006 in Ramadi, Iraq.
CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. (June 25, 2010) – As the fourth year
passes since the heroic death of New Whiteland, Ind., native
Sgt. Joseph Proctor, his memory lives on stronger than ever
in the hearts of his family, his friends and the Indiana
Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger.
The Third Annual Proctor Park Community Celebration was held
at the Whiteland Raceway Park, June 19, where Proctor's
family, Umbarger, members of the Indiana Army National Guard
and the community spent the afternoon paying homage to their
local fallen hero and all those who serve. Rides, races,
games, military displays, a hog roast, the National Guard
Patriot Chopper built by Orange County Choppers, the Panther
Racing National Guard Indy Car and the Indianapolis Pacer's
Mascot Boomer were all present to provide entertainment.
Also, the Clark Pleasant Middle School National Jr. Honor
Society presented veterans with specially designed coins in
recognition of their service.
“We wanted to bring a sense of community with the main focus
being a day for the community to say thank you to our
veterans and to give them recognition,” said New Whiteland
Town Clerk and Treasurer Maribeth Alspach. “It was a chance
to appreciate and honor the men and women who have served or
are serving our community.”|
Sgt. Joseph Proctor gave his life in the line of duty, May
3, 2006 in Ramadi, Iraq while on tour with a military
transition training team.
This is a dangerous job and would frequently put him in
positions where he was isolated with the Iraqi Army,
conducting operations without direct support from coalition
Joseph was training Iraqi soldiers on a remote observation
post in the Al Anbar province when a volley of accurate
enemy mortar rounds made direct hits in and around his
position. Hearing the calls of wounded, he immediately
grabbed his protective gear and rifle and ran from the
concrete cover of the barracks, exposing himself to enemy
mortars and small-arms fire to provide aid to his comrades.
As he provided aid to the wounded, a large dump truck packed
with explosives penetrated the gate heading for the center
of the post with intent to destroy it. He stood his ground,
leveled his rifle and fired at the vehicle-borne suicide
bomb, killing the driver. The truck bomb detonated short of
its target. He was mortally wounded.
Sgt. Joseph Proctor saved the lives of his comrades,
sacrificing himself in the process.
For his brave actions that day,
he was posthumously awarded
the military's fourth highest honor for gallantry, the
Silver Star Medal, the first time an Indiana Soldier has
been awarded the medal since the Vietnam War.
Today, Proctor Park in New Whiteland stands as a memorial to
all who have served.
“We knew that we wanted the monument that told Joe's story
but we also wanted to recognize all of our veterans and all
of our local heroes that protect our communities,” said
Built from more than $125,000 in donations from Whiteland
residents, new additions and modifications are continuously
made. It has a personalized memorial in honor of Proctor as
well as flags flying for each branch of the military.
Further into the park are playgrounds for children and a
pond stocked with fish. More enhancements are constantly
donated by the community.
“It's a sacred place,” said Alspach. “It's a place that,
hopefully, families will share with their children that we
don't live in a country as wonderful as the United States by
chance. We live here because people have paid a price for
our freedom, and because people were willing to sacrifice.
What we have and what we enjoy should never be taken for
granted because in the blink of an eye it could be gone. I
think we need to understand the legacy that we have here.”
Umbarger recognizes the Proctor family legacy and has
maintained a close bond with them over the years. On the day
of the celebration, Maj. Gen. and Mrs. Umbarger visited with
Proctor's parents Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Proctor at the Proctor
The general and his wife personally donated a bench to the
memorial in honor of the Proctor family. The two families
walked together through the memorial and honored Joseph
“The Proctor family inviting us here just means so much to
us,” said Umbarger. “They have made such a huge sacrifice.
We are just so proud of Sgt. Joe Proctor.”
The two families walked the memorial grounds and reflected.
“It's a very nice addition,” said Lloyd. “People can come
here and sit. They can remember, no matter what branch there
in. This is for everybody.”
The roots of Joseph Proctor's uncommon sacrifice are evident
when looking at Proctor's family. Even after the family's
loss of Joseph, his son Joey, his brother Eddie and his
nephew Bradley enlisted in the Indiana National Guard and
his nephew Eddie Jr. enlisted for active duty in the Army.
Sgt. Eddie Proctor re-enlisted into the Indiana Army
National Guard in 2006 after his brother died in combat.
“We're carrying on the name he brought on,” said Eddie. “If
a Soldier, a brother can die for his country and earn the
Silver Star then I'm glad that we can honor the name and
keep it going.”
Military members from the Indiana National Guard, 81st Troop
Command and Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center
spoke at the event, showing their appreciation for all those
who have served.
“To remember is to honor,” said Col. Barry Richmond, deputy
commander of Camp Atterbury Muscatatuck Center for Complex
Operations. “We can all get engaged with our daily lives and
we forget the important things. We forget to remember. We
don't remember the sacrifices. We don't remember the
sacrifices of the families. We have to have events like this
to bring us back, to think about the sacrifices the results
of which we are blessed with every day.”
Maribeth plans to hold to next year's annual Proctor Park
Community Celebration on the Proctor Park grounds.
“There will never be a way to truly thank you for everything
our veterans have done for us,” said Alspach. “What has been
done in that park is so small, but it is our community's
attempt to say thanks.”
Article and photo by Army Spc. John Crosby|
Camp Atterbury Public Affairs
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