IF YOU GOFARMINGTON — His name is engraved on the black granite wall of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., and he's finally getting a hometown tribute.
What: Portrait unveiling to honor U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kenneth L. Worley
When: 10 a.m. Wednesday
Where: Farmington Museum at Gateway Park, 3041 E. Main St. in Farmington
Today, Farmington-born U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kenneth L. Worley, a Medal of Honor recipient who was killed in action in the Vietnam War, will be honored at the Farmington Museum. An unveiling of a memorial portrait will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
Worley was serving as a machine gunner with the Marines in Vietnam's Bo Ban hamlet, Quang Nam Province, on Aug. 12, 1968, when he threw his body over a grenade, saving the lives of five fellow Marines.
Worley is the only Marine Medal of Honor recipient from New Mexico. He is buried in Westminster Memorial Park in Westminster, Calif.
Along with other veterans, retired U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Bruce Salisbury has been working for an honorary portrait of Worley for more than half a decade.
“A group of us have been trying to honor this Farmington boy who spent the first 16 years of his life here for quite some time. It started primarily on the question of why Worley is so unknown in his own hometown,” Salisbury said.
Salisbury said the event will also be an opportunity for Marine combat veterans to meet fellow “brothers in arms” and some of Worley's adoptive family members.
At the ceremony Wednesday, country singer Grant Goblebe will perform a song his grandmother wrote years ago called “The Animas River Train,” Salisbury said. “
The song is quite fitting and speaks to that river which Worley knew so well as a child growing up in Farmington,” he said.
A book that features Worley — “The Search For The Forgotten 34: Honored by the U.S. Marines, Unheralded in Their Hometowns?” written by Terence Barrett, a former aviation officer in the Marine Corps and licensed psychologist in Fargo, N.D. — will be available for purchase at the museum.
“I consider it one of the best books on military, the meaning of valor and stories of heroes that have all been forgotten,” Salisbury said. “The first 102 pages of the 600-plus page book are devoted to Worley. He's a real Farmington hero.”