Honoring Clinton “Sonny” VanGelder, the first veteran laid to rest at the Sampson Veterans Memorial Cemetery

Michael F. Nozzolio

September 28, 2011

This week, I was deeply honored to attend the burial service for Clinton “Sonny” VanGelder of Geneva, who became the first veteran to be laid to rest at the Sampson Veterans Memorial Cemetery.

Sonny was a dedicated American serviceman who represented his Country with distinction and honor during the Korean War. As a U.S. Air Force Veteran who trained at the Sampson Air Force Base, he was laid to rest on the very ground where he forged his commitment to our Nation 59 years ago.

It was Sonny’s final wish to be buried at Sampson, a wish that his wife Eva VanGelder was committed to honoring. I was honored to join Eva and Sonny’s family and friends as we paid tribute to Sonny’s courage, commitment and service to our Country.

Pictured: John Butcher, Air Force Master Sergeant; Eva VanGelder, widow of Clinton “Sonny” VanGelder; Senator Nozzolio; Daniel Meyer, Pastor; and Bill Yale, Director of Sampson Veterans Memorial Cemetery.