After The Shoot

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Ken Huddleston

As you drive in to the town of Centreville, Maryland, one of the Eastern Shore’s many small, historic towns, you’ll pass a patriotic mural on our local American Legion that catches your eye. At first glance, you see Old Glory and the Maryland flag that run the length of the building.  Beginning with the Maryland flag flowing in the wind, along with each of the Armed Forces service emblems.   This rolls to the front of the building into the American flag which proudly waves, also on the front portion are service member silhouettes marching quietly through the battlefields of history. Our nation’s colors then transition into the POW/MIA flag which mournfully flies over the graves of Arlington. If you look closely there is only one true portrait on the front of the building, it is a portrait of our namesake, Jeff Davis.  This beautiful mural painted by local artist William Hemsley serves as tribute to all those that have served and sacrificed for our nation. “All Gave Some, Some Gave All,” a phrase most recently popularized by a song by Billy Ray Cyrus in 1992, is embodied in the silhouettes of the service members in uniforms reflective of every conflict and war fought since World War I.

The mural serves as reminder and pays tribute to the servicemen and women of Queen Anne’s County, and reflects the great purpose and work of the American Legion Jeff Davis Post 18 as we continue to serve our nation, our veterans and community.  What you don’t see behind the walls are the scores of volunteers that uphold the pillars of the American Legion contributing to our community and nation.  Our volunteers make this philanthropic organization possible. Our service programs are sustained by contributions; our members and volunteers from the community dedicate both their finances and time to help the American Legion raise funds as we strive to make an impact on the lives of others and the community around us. We ask everyone to join us and help where they can. We are, and shall always be, grateful to community-focused businesses and individuals that work with us to give back and serve our local community.

The annual Lewis Class Clay Shoot is one of these fundraising events.  I had the opportunity to document the event on Sunday, April 30, 2023.  It started as a gray, rainy day that was oddly peaceful with a gentle breeze and countless song birds serenading those who joined us on this fateful day.  A pair of cranes and a lone cormorant enjoyed the tranquility of the adjacent pond as our shooters began to arrive early, each bearing their favorite shotgun and wet weather gear.  Greeted by the warm and friendly smiles of Amanda and Nancy, each shooter knowing they’d be enduring the elements as they made their way from point to point.

To borrow liberally from Shakespeare’s “The St. Crispin’s Day speech from Henry V.”  This story shall the good man teach his son; it shall be remembered. We few, we happy few, we band of brothers and sisters, those today that endured the rain and the chill with me shall be my brother and sister, this day at the Point at Pintail will be one for the memories.  We will recall the gentle rain and sudden downpours, the sound of a single word, “Pull,” followed by the thundering blast, with the gentle words of the trappers noting if it was as a kill or miss. Those that stayed in bed shall think themselves accursed they were not here, and hold their manhood cheap whiles any speaks of the American Legion, Jeff Davis Post 18 Lewis Class clay shoot at the Point at Pintail held this day despite the uncooperative weather.

Two shooters rose above the rest and accepted a final duel to see which would be crowned Highest overall Average.  Pete Vukovich and Scott Jasion each scoring 50 out of 50; Scott edged out his opponent to be the victor. In Tier 1 of the Lewis Class shoot Pete Vukovich got 1st place, Zach Bramble took 2nd Place and Greg Manning, our favorite old Marine took home 3rd place.  In Tier 2: Braden Rosebrock took 1st; Bruce Miller took 2nd and Brenan Eason took 3rd.  In Tier 3: Sam Walls took 1st place, Peyton Yiannakis took 2nd and Dan Kelly took 3rd place.  In the overall Team Win, Team Harris (Pete Vukovich, Danny Harris, Wade Harris and Braden Rosebrock) took the honors scoring 176 overall.  In the American Legion Team competition Post 18’s Team; Mike Dill, Greg Manning, Glenn Durbin and Dennis Reed scored 155 to take the Commander’s Trophy to reside at Post 18 for another year. The question is can it be defended in 2024 or will it be won by a worthy Legion competitor team?  Our own Adjutant, Gene Whitarce won the shotgun raffle and with this new exceptional firearm will be seeking a trophy in the next Lewis Class clay shoot.

We don’t do this in a bubble, it takes a community of businesses and individuals willing to help lighten the financial burden with their sponsorship: for this event the sponsors included:  The Point at Pintail, Parks Tire & Auto Service, LLC; Bay Shore Steam Pot, LLC; An Eastridge Garden; Draper Brothers Liquors, American Legion Auxiliary Unit 18; Eastern Bay Trading Company; R S Shooting Sports, LLC; Town Buzz Barber Shop; Mulberry Hill Farm; Chesapeake Outdoors; Tammy Parker; Molly’s Place; and The Nizer Group for God & Country.  We can’t thank you enough for your generosity, we can only recommend our members and surrounding communities support your business, because it is obvious that you are invested in our community.

We cannot conclude this story without a huge thanks the volunteers; without their diligent efforts and willingness to endure the elements this annual event would not be possible. Those volunteers in no certain order include:  Joel Leilich (Commander Post 18), John Nizer, John White (Commander SAL Squadron 18), Nancy Morton, Kevin Morgan, Eric Wilhelm, Rocky Cranford, Bradford King, Nancy Faulkner (Post 296), Gene Whitarce, Mark King, Donna Donaldson, Bill Newcomb, Lewis Walker, President of the Auxiliary Unit Margaret Kallay, Linda Buber, PJ Dill, Marie Huffler (Post 296), Sara O’Neil, Heather Clark, Gina Scherl, Deb & Fred Cain, Heather Clark, JoAnn McDowell, and Lyn Reed. What is outstanding is not every volunteer was from Post 18 or a member of the American Legion, but the each was willing to dedicate their efforts and time in supporting Jeff Davis Post 18’s annual fundraiser.  Hopefully the weather next year will be more cooperative and we’ll get to fully enjoy the beauty of the Point at Pintail.

The following are displays that were given in sponsorship by generous contributors to Jeff Davis Post 18: