Central Ohio World War Two Vet Killed In Traffic Accident.

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American Legion Post 283 outside Pickerington.
American Legion Post 283 outside Pickerington.

Veteran’s Day preparations continue in Pickerington. The city will host the Vietnam Travelling Memorial Wall beginning tomorrow through the weekend. But the ceremonies have taken a more somber tone after one veteran was killed and another critically injured in an accident last night.

At the American Legion post just outside Pickerington, kitchen volunteers scrambled to make enough chili, chicken sandwiches and other snacks for as many as 40,000 people. That’s how many they’re expecting to visit the traveling Vietnam wall, a three-fifth sized replica of the Washington monument.

But organizers nearly cancelled the events after 84-year-old Carl Irish and 83-year-old John Evans were struck by a van while walking across Refugee Road. They were getting supplies from Pickerington North High School. Jim Massengale is the legion commander.

“The two elderly gentlemen and Dan Davis walked across,” Massengale says. “Dan was younger than them and walked across with them. They thought they had clear right-of-way, the closest vehicle they saw was down at the stop light in both ways. Unfortunately they got hit.”

Irish died shortly after the accident, and Evans was critically injured. Irish was a World War II veteran and long-time local member, while Evans had just moved from Pennsylvania earlier this summer but was helping run this week’s ceremonies. That’s why kitchen volunteer Judy Willoughbie says they thought about cancelling before deciding to go forward.

“Both of the men would have wanted us to do that. In fact, John would have been my runner, he was going to go pick up the pizzas and things today, and Mr. Irish was our photographer. So neither one of them would have wanted anything to stop,” Willoughbie says.