Detective Sgt. Phil Valdez of the Tuscarawas County Sheriff's Office will be the featured speaker during Newcomerstown's Memorial Day service at the West Lawn Cemetery. (Village of Newcomerstown)

NEWCOMERSTOWN - Some special guests will be helping the village pay tribute to the local men and women who died protecting America's freedoms.

The village's annual Memorial Day service starts at 11 am at the West Lawn Cemetery with Newcomerstown graduate and U.S. Marine Corps veteran Jason Miller serving as the Master of Ceremonies, following in the footsteps of the late Denny Bell.  Jason served in the Marines from 1991-1995 and joined the American Legion in 1998. He has since participated in numerous military funerals, parades, and Blue Star Banner Programs. 

The main speaker for the ceremony will be Detective Sgt. Phil Valdez of the Tuscarawas County Sheriff's Office following an introduction by former U.S. Army Sgt. Chad Elliot.

A 1996 graduate of Newcomerstown High School, Valdez served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps.  He attended Marine Security Forces Training and was tasked to guard nuclear missiles for two years and spent his final two years of service as a Marine rifleman with 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Division at Kaneohe Bay Hawaii.  He was honorably discharged in June of 2000 and began working at the sheriff’s office in July of 2000.  as a corrections officer. He has since risen through the ranks, becoming a deputy in the Road Patrol Division in 2006, a K-9 officer in 2007, and a detective in 2014. He was promoted to sergeant and commander of the LEAD Drug Task Force in January of 2017.  He says he's honored to speak at the event and to represent his hometown, the Tuscarawas County Sheriff's Office and his fellow Marines.

Representing Newcomerstown High School will be graduating senior Candace Offman. Ed Rexroad of the Light in the Valley Ministries will give the Invocation and Benediction. The ceremony will also feature musical accompaniment by the Newcomerstown High School Band and Newcomerstown American Legion Honor Guard, with the Legion's Color Guard unit performing the ceremonial duties along with showcasing the American Flag.

Mayor Pat Cadle says they encourage everyone to come out and enjoy the ceremony, or if they can't attend, to pause at 3 pm for the National Moment of Remembrance.

"Without the sacrifices of our veterans who have served and fought for our country – we would not enjoy the great country and village we are today,” he says.

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