Four local war heroes will be honored on the Civic Park stage this Saturday afternoon.
Lawrenceburg Fall Music Fest Veterans Presentation honorees (left to right): Joshua Bell, Joe Gray, Les VanTyle, and Paul E. Covington, Jr. Photos provided.
(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – Lawrenceburg Fall Music Fest would not be complete without recognizing those who have served to protect our freedom.
The annual Veterans Presentation will take place Saturday, September 25 at 2:30 p.m. on the Civic Park stage.
Four war heroes will be recognized with Purple Heart Plaques for their bravery and sacrifice. They are Joshua Bell, Joe Gray, Les VanTyle, and Paul E. Covington, Jr.
RELATED STORY: Country Music Group Parmalee To Headline Lawrenceburg Fall Music Fest
Bios for this year’s Fall Fest Veterans Presentation honorees were provided by PG Gentrup:
Joshua Bell was born May 30, 1987 in Cincinnati, OH to Vicki and Gary Bell and was their only child. He attended elementary and middle school in Cincinnati and then graduated from Grant Co. High School in Dry Ridge, KY. He was inducted into the United States Army and served from 2004-10. He completed Basic Training at Ft. Sill, OK and then went to Ft. Benning, GA for his AIT. He then served at Ft. Hood, TX and Ft. Dix, NJ as well as Ft. Knox, KY. He completed “jump school” at Ft. Bragg, NC and became a member of the 82nd Airborne. Joshua served in Iraq in 2006 and in Afghanistan in 2007-08. It was while serving with the 82nd Airborne in Afghanistan that he was badly wounded when a massive roadside bomb was detonated. He had shrapnel wounds to his head and body resulting in major brain surgery and a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). It has caused him to lose his hair, suffer from PTSD, severe hearing loss and affected his speech. He was discharged from the Army as a Sergeant, E-5. Today, he works for Roy Heck and Roy’s Tents. Joshua was awarded the Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, War On Terrorism Service Medal, Meritorious Unit Citation, Presidential Unit Citation and Expert Rifle Badge. Today, he and his girlfriend, Sophia, live in Greendale. Joshua is proud to have served our great nation and supports our troops serving today and our Veterans.
Joe was born on June 22, 1947 in Springfield, Ohio to Harry E. and Frances C. Gray. He was an only child. He attended school for grades K-1 at Lagunda, grades 2-4 at Elmwood, Horace Mann for grades 5-6, Schaefer Junior High for grades 7-8 and graduated from South High School in Springfield in 1965. Joe worked for National Cash Register (NCR) and then was employed at the Springfield Fire Dept. for 29 years. He married his wife, Renee, on March 28, 2009. There are four children: Lorraine, Brian, Steven and Sandra, along with five grandchildren, 3 girls and 2 boys. Today, they live in the Mt. Washington area of Cincinnati but still have several relatives in the Rising Sun, IN area. Joe is a member of the VFW, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman’s Association, Chapter 17 of the 173 Airborne Association and a Life Member of Vietnam Veterans of America Lary D. Fogle Chapter 71 in Aurora, Indiana. Joe served in the United States Army from 1966-68. He attended basic training at Ft. Gordon, GA and took AIT at Ft. Benning, GA. He entered Jump School at Ft. Benning in January of 1967 and then was deployed to Vietnam. He was stationed at Bien Hoa and Xuan Loc with the 173rd Airborne. Joe was wounded in action and awarded a Purple Heart when injured by shrapnel hit his left leg near Bien Hoa. He was later sent to an area near Dac To and was engaged in a battle with the Viet Cong when he was struck by shrapnel in the face and chest in November of 1967 on Hill 875 and was awarded his second Purple Heart. Joe returned to the United States and was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Ft. Bragg, NC and was discharged as a Sergeant E-5. Joe was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Palm, Purple Heart with oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star with V for valor, Army Commendation Medal with V for valor, Combat Infantryman’s Badge (CIB), Parachute Badge, Presidential Unit Citation, Meritorious Unit Citation, Expert shooting badges for: pistol, M-16 rifle, automatic rifle and M-60 machine gun. Joe is proud of his service to our nation and supports our troops serving our great nation today and our veterans.
Lawrence Leslie VanTyle was born on Sept. 22, 1945 to Lawrence Earl VanTyle and Mary Eliza Sherman VanTyle in Rising Sun, IN. He attended grade school at the Cass Union Grade School in Ohio County. Les graduated from Rising Sun High School in 1963. Les entered the United States Air Force on October 13, 1965 and faithfully served until his discharge on February 6, 1969. He completed his training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas and then was assigned to Patrick Air Force Base in Florida. He was an Administrative Specialist in the manned space flight office. He was deployed to Vietnam in 1967 and while serving in Saigon, he was injured by shrapnel from a bomb that exploded. He was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds suffered in that attack. Les worked on the farm for many years, worked at Seagrams in Lawrenceburg for 10 years, worked at four different screen printing facilities ,and eventually went to work for Valvoline Oil Company near Cleves, OH and retired in 2008 after a 30 year career. Les had two heart bypass surgeries at the age of 60. The family built a house in Cleves, OH and they still live there. Les has four sisters: Florence Marie Peters; Doris Ann Shadday, Lutha May Nieman and Mavis Carole Uhlmansiek. He had one brother, Elmer Nelson Van Tyle. Les married Shirley E. Scalf on August 9, 1969. They had two sons, David Lawrence VanTyle and Stephen A. VanTyle. David married Lisa Anne Wiegle and they have two daughters; Rachell Erin VanTyle and Alexis Grace VanTyle. Les is proud of his service to our great nation and his service in Vietnam. He continues to support our troops today, wherever they are serving.
PAUL E. COVINGTON, JR
Paul E. Covington Jr. was born on February 28, 1949 to Paul Sr. and Shirley Mae Swanson Covington in Switzerland County, Indiana. He graduated from Vevay High School in 1967 and entered the United States Army in March of 1969. He has three brothers; Danny, Dennis and Duane and a sister, Sherry. After completing basic training at Ft. Knox, KY he flew to Ft. Lewis, Washington for AIT. He then was sent to Ft. Benning, GA for NCO School. After that schooling he was sent to Ft. Polk, LA to help train troops as a Drill Instructor for eight weeks. He was promoted to Sergeant E-5. Paul was sent to Vietnam where he served with the Americal Division, 23rd Infantry, 11th Brigade at Duc Pho, South Vietnam in 1970-71. He was wounded in action against the Viet Cong when struck by shrapnel and awarded a Purple Heart. He was awarded several medals for his service: National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Purple Heart, Bronze Star with “V” for Valor, Vietnamese Galllantry Cross with Palm, Army Good Conduct Medal and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge (CIB). He received the Expert Rifle Shooting Badge too. Paul has four children: Chris, Lori, Andrea and Olivia and three grandchildren. Paul retired from Dow Corning and today is a member of the Vevay American Legion Post 185 and a Life Member of the Southeastern Indiana Vietnam Veterans of America Lary D. Fogle Chapter 71 in Aurora, IN. Paul was honored at a Cincinnati Reds game in August of 2021 as the Hometown Hero and received a standing ovation and salute from the thousands of fans in attendance. This was a reward for his faithful and dedicated service to our great nation. He is proud of his military service and supports our troops serving around the world today and our veterans.