A 22-year-old Lockeford man who was killed in action last year in Afghanistan will be honored with a special Medal of Valor from the Lodi Elks Lodge during a Memorial Day service on Monday in Woodbridge.
The medal will be given to Greg and Lori Coumas, whose son Kyle was killed in action in Afghanistan on Oct. 21.
Kyle Coumas, 22, was killed when the vehicle he was driving was attacked by an improvised explosive device in the province of Kandahar. He died on a helicopter on the way to a hospital.
Coumas died exactly where he wanted to be — serving his country. He wanted to be in the Army, especially in the infantry, his parents said in an interview last fall.
Greg and Lori Coumas will receive the Medal of Valor, and family friend Sharon Emig will offer remembrances at a special Memorial Day service at 1:30 p.m. Monday at Woodbridge Masonic Cemetery, located on Lower Sacramento Road, north of Turner Road.
The ceremony in Woodbridge will be one of six Memorial Day services in the Lodi-Galt area to honor those who have given their lives in America's wars.
The first ceremony will be at 9 a.m. at Lodi Memorial Cemetery on East Pine Street at Guild Avenue. Others will be held at Cherokee Memorial Park, Harmony Grove Cemetery in Lockeford, Glenview Cemetery in Clements and at Galt Cemetery.
Here is a rundown of Monday's services:
9 a.m., Lodi Memorial Cemetery. San Joaquin County Supervisor Ken Vogel will be the guest speaker along with Capt. Clifford Eermodis from Sharpe Army Depot in Tracy.
New this year will be a fly-by in a "missing man formation." Four planes will fly by, and one will fly upward away from the others.
Lee Melford, accompanied on keyboard by Barbara Kelley, will perform some music selections, and Pastor David Hill of Grace Presbyterian Church will give the invocation and Memorial Day prayer.
10:30 a.m., Cherokee Memorial Park, Harney Lane off Highway 99. Retired Col. Allen Cruz from the U.S. Marine Corps will be the guest speakers, and special presentations will be made by the Marine Corps and Karl Ross American Legion Post honor guards.
A roll call of local combat veterans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan will be recited, the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps will be present, and doves will be released.
Cherokee will also feature its 53rd annual Avenue of the Flags, which will include 975 large veterans' flags and 6,294 small American flags marking the burial sites of veterans at Cherokee. There will also be a field of flags in memory of the 5,473 combat veterans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Cherokee will also accept contributions for care packages for the troops on Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Contributions may include playing cards, hard candy, Kool Aid, beef jerkey, nail clippers, trail mix, dental floss, sun block and zinc and — believe it or not — Nerf balls.
A complete list is available under "current events" at www.cherokeememorial.com.
10 a.m., Galt Cemetery, 14180 Joy Drive. Galt Mayor Randy Shelton and Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli will be the guest speakers. Emily Manzinko of Elk Grove, who has family in Galt, will sing. Galt Boy Scout Troop 28 and the Galt Pathfinders will put up crosses.
Noon: Free lunch for veterans hosted by the Lodi Elks Lodge at the lodge building, 19071 N. Lower Sacramento Road, Woodbridge.
1:30 p.m., service at Woodbridge Masonic Cemetery on Lower Sacramento Road. Retired Senior Master Sgt. Aleck Dambacher, a member of the Lodi Masonic Lodge who lives in Thornton, will be the guest speaker.
Michael and Lori Coumas will be given the Medal of Valor in memory of their late son, Kyle. The Lodi Community Band will perform, and Lodi Elks Lodge Chaplain Carolyn Greeson will offer the invocation and benediction.
Wreaths will be laid by the Lodi American Legion Post and Auxiliary, the Delta chapter of American Ex-Prisoners of War, the Lodi chapter of Disabled American Veterans, Pearl Harbor Survivors and the Lodi Elks Lodge.
9 a.m., Glenview Cemetery on Mackville Road, north of Highway 88. Lockeford Veterans of Foreign Wars Commander Richard Best and Quartermaster-Chaplain Steve Jackson will speak. Honor guard will participate.
11:30 a.m., Harmony Grove Cemetery, Locke and Tretheway roads. Lockeford Veterans of Foreign Wars Commander Richard Best and Quartermaster-Chaplain Steve Jackson will speak. Honor guard will participate.