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Stanton Dearborn remembered on Veterans Honor Roll

By Susan Mustapich | Nov 12, 2019
Courtesy of: Alison McKellar The name of Stanton E. Dearborn, a deceased Vietnam War veteran, was engraved on the Veterans Honor Roll on the Village Green Nov. 8 by stone worker and veteran Owen Casas.

CAMDEN — A longtime request to add veteran Stanton E. Dearborn's name to the Veterans Honor Roll on the Village Green was fulfilled Nov. 8, when his name was engraved on the massive stone monument, several days in advance of Veterans Day.

Until recently, unwritten rules specified whose name could be added to the Honor Roll, placed on the Village Green in 2007. Those rules were that a veteran must have been a resident of the town of Camden at the time they joined the armed forces, and have served during wartime.

Stanton Dearborn's case has been uppermost in moving the Select Board to create a written policy - and resolution process for difficult cases - for adding the names of veterans to the monument.

He was born, raised and schooled in Camden. He enlisted at age 17, during the Vietnam War, and served two tours as a door gunner with the U.S. Army 1st Cavalry Aviation. He was honorably discharged and returned to Camden. Later the same year, he died at age 21, after taking his own life. He is buried in Camden, with military honors in the Mountain View Cemetery.

But his name was not added to the monument because he enrolled in the military while living in New York for a short period of time, after his parents split up.

Jan Dearborn, Stanton's younger sister, has persisted for more than four years in asking town officials to add her brother's name to the Honor Roll.

Dearborn said she used to go over to the monument, and first made the request to town officials, when she noticed there wasn't a lot of space left for Vietnam veterans. Following numerous communications with Select Board members, and the local American Legion Post 30, the Select Board denied her request in March 2017, due to Stanton's living outside of Camden when he enlisted.

Earlier this year, Dearborn decided to renew her request, and contact Board member Alison McKellar, who was elected in June 2017. The two talked about Stanton, and continued to email one another. Dearborn said she was "bowled over" when McKellar began working on a plan. "I was just grateful," she said.

McKellar brought Dearborn's request back to the Select Board, and reminded the board of the need for written rules for the Honor Roll. She called for establishing a committee to assist with reviewing applications and difficult cases that do not exactly fit the rules. She worked with Town Manager Audra Caler-Bell and Jeff Sukeforth, from the local Post 30 American Legion, which assists veterans and their families seeking to have names added to the wall by tracking down required paperwork.

In September, the Select Board appointed a Veterans Honor Roll Committee to document the Honor Roll criteria in writing, review applications, and create a process for determining difficult cases, and for appeals. This committee accomplished these tasks, and the rules and procedures were approved by the Board Oct. 22. Caler-Bell credited Sukeforth and the local American Legion Post 30 for drafting the rules and procedures and being a good partner to the town.

On Nov. 6, the Board approved the committee's recommendation to add Stanton E. Dearborn to the Honor Roll. When Dearborn heard his name was going to be on the monument by Veterans Day, she almost couldn't believe it.

On Veterans Day, Dearborn talked about meeting McKellar, Caler-Bell and Owen Casas on the Village Green Nov. 8. She said she was ecstatic to see Stanton's name being engraved on the Honor Roll. Casas, a stone worker and veteran, was so kind to do this before Veterans Day, she said.

Stanton is the fourth member of the Dearborn family to be honored on the Village Green, along with his and Jan's grandfather and WWI veteran Stanton Dearborn, and their father Edward Dearborn and Uncle Howard Dearborn, both WWII veterans.

Jan Dearborn sees her brother's name engraved on the Veterans Honor Roll on the Village Green, which fulfills her quest to have him remembered there. (Courtesy of: Alison McKellar)
Stanton Dearborn enlisted in the U.S. Army at age 17, during the Vietnam War, and served two tours as a door gunner. (Courtesy of: Jan Dearborn)
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Comments (10)
Posted by: SYD LEACH | Nov 12, 2019 20:37

My Father was in the CCCC camps at Mt Battie, Never really had a home town, moved eight times in eight years as had always told us..tried to get his name on this, and was told didn't live in Camden when signed up..No he wasn't at the time..He went to r.I. where my mother was and signed up..there a lot of people on the wall that weren't residents of Camden..w any otherbut were in the CCCC camps that didn't Know any other Place other than Camden to call home..they were State kids with no familys...Camden was there Home...


Posted by: Barry Douglas Morse | Nov 09, 2019 23:10

In an October 24 article about the rules for inclusion in the honor role, it was stated that "The key form is the DD 214 discharge papers, which list the hometown of record at time of enlistment."


That sent me scurrying to find my own DD Form 214, which was a 1 July 1979 version of the form. It may be purely academic at this point, but while the newest version of the form apparently does indicate hometown at time of enlistment, my old DD 214 shows "Place of entry into active duty."  For me, it shows New Haven, Conn., 45 miles from my home town of Uncasville. I still remember the bus ride to New Haven and the stretch bell bottom trousers and platform shoes I wore to induction.

Posted by: Kim Lincoln | Nov 09, 2019 09:38

Thank you Camden for making this happen and fixing this issue! Jan, thank you for being persistent in your attempts to honor your brother.

Posted by: Janet Ruth Dearborn | Nov 08, 2019 19:29

My apologies to anyone who reads this....I don't know what happened when I posted my last comment, it appears I have been invaded by the A's.

Posted by: Janet Ruth Dearborn | Nov 08, 2019 19:25

Today I was invited to join Alison McKellar and Town Manager Audra Caler Bell on the Village Green to watch as Owen Casas engraved my brother's name,  Stanton E. Dearborn on the Honor Roll monument. Owen served in the Marine Corp, as a veteran he understood the importance of today, he volunteered his time and wanted to see it done prior to Veterans Day. I am unable to adequately express the gratitude I have for these three wonderful people. We all stood in the freezing cold, wind blowing, noses running, at one point it started to snow, but the kindness that was bestowed on me, kept me very warm. It was overwhelming walking the length of the monument looking at family names engraved in stone.... my grandfather, Stanton Edward Dearborn (WW I), then my father, Edward Stanton Dearborn (WW II and Korea) and at long last my brother, Stanton Edward Dearborn (Vietnam). My father's brother, Howard served in the Navy during WWII, there are simply too many family members to list, suffice to say Camden has been home to generations of Dearborn's.


When I contacted Alison last July I did not know that finally, I was speaking to the person who would make this all happen. Quite frankly, I was simply blown away at her willingness to help me. It was a remarkable experience to watch as Alison very methodically approached my request, never faltering, always optimistic, ending with the events of today. The Town of Camden is extraordinarily lucky to have her as a select board member and to have Audra as town manager. They were both so happy that they were able to help, saying they are wonderful people doesn't seem to be adequate. As Jeff Sukeforth pointed out, it was a team effort, each person playing a role with the same desired outcome.


Vietnam was such a divisive war in this country, coming back from any war is a huge adjustment, but Vietnam vets were not treated as heroes, they suffered at home too. Sadly, suicide rates among veterans are again, on the rise. My brother's helicopter crew were all teenagers with the exception of the pilot, he was twenty-five years old, this always comes to mind when I think of the thousands of Vietnam casualties, they were just kids.  It took fifty years to honor Vietnam veterans properly, enlightenment came painstakingly slow, this can never happen again....we lost an entire generation.


This Veterans Day will be happily very different for me, a huge weight has been lifted........thank you to everyone who helped in adding my brother's name to Camden's Honor Roll.


Jan Dearborn

Posted by: Jeff Sukeforth | Nov 08, 2019 16:54

Stephen Carroll and Kendall Merriam, please unless you are intimately aware of all the details that went into this please refrain from disparaging those who have done the right thing and corrected an issue which up until this month had no written guidelines at all.  Thank you Camden Select Board, Allison McKellar in particular and Town Manager Audra Caler Bell for seeing this through in a short amount of time.

Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Nov 08, 2019 14:58

I honor my cousin Sonny Wood, age 18 yrs,  who fought and died on Iwo Jima. He was with the first Marines to land and they all were all slaughtered. On the third Marine landing the flag of America flew over the land, proudly.


Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Nov 08, 2019 07:50

This soldier was "born, raised and schooled" in Camden and served for "two" terms of duty in Vietnam.  He gave all for our country fighting in an unpopular war and a few men are debating whether his name should be listed on a board of honor ??  Everyone that served and died serving his or her country should be recognized and you should just stop wasting time pondering stupid details to limit their access to a place of honor.

Posted by: Bill Packard | Nov 07, 2019 18:38

Kendall, I think you're being a little harsh on Camden.  The guidelines were clear and followed.  This was a situation that did not fit the existing guidelines and there was no appeal process.  Now the process has been amended and there is a clear process and a board to decide the merit.  I don't see that public outcry drove this, but rather, dealing with a situation that was unforseen when the original guidelines were created.

Posted by: Kendall Merriam | Nov 07, 2019 17:19

Well, this honorable Camden veteran killed in action will finally find his place of honor. It took public outcry for Camden to finally do the right thing.

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