GALLIPOLIS — As part of a surprise event at Zack and Scotty’s in Gallipolis on Court Street, Commander of the VFW Post 4464 Bill Mangus was recognized by the Ohio Department of Veterans Services and Modern Woodmen of America for years spent supporting veteran and community causes.
The event was a surprise gathering under the guise of a birthday for fellow VFW member and veteran Joe DiSantis. After calling DiSantis to the front to honor him for years served, organizers informed Mangus the event had been planned around him.
“When I joined the army and went to Afghanistan, I was surrounded by the support and love of the people around me,” said Ohio Department of Veterans Services Deputy Director Sean McCarthy. “I got that support and love because of people of the Vietnam generation who didn’t get treated right. They made sure that never happened again. Mr. Mangus, my generation owes yours a tremendous debt to make sure that that seam and gap between the military and the civilian community adheres. It happens because of the work of people like you.”
Mangus joined the US Army in 1970 and was stationed in Germany before going to Vietnam and serving with the First Cavalry Division Infantry in 1971. He received the Combat Infantryman Badge from Vice President Spiro Agnew while in Vietnam and finished his tour with the 525 Signal Corps where he ran “Army MARS” that allowed soldiers the ability to call home. He would eventually join VFW Post 4464 in 2010. He was named commander in 2011. He joined the Gallia Burial Detail. Mangus would eventually lead the 4464 Honor Guard in 2015. He has been named an All-State Commander four times and an All-State, All-American Commander. He was named a District Commander in 2015 and 2016 as well.
The 4464 Honor Guard under Mangus has attended over 2000 Gallia veteran funerals in good or inclement weather to give military funeral rites. The group has set up donations for school fundraisers, summer camps, veterans in nursing homes, holiday visits and donations to children or veterans in need, women’s domestic abuse shelters and more among its activities. The 4464 Honor Guard has also been named as the Honor Guard for the Ohio State VFW.
“Mr. Mangus, you are a picture of what it is to be a veteran that continues to serve in our community,” said McCarthy.
Mangus was served with a certificate of recognition and then again as a Hometown Hero by Modern Woodmen of America and Rebecca Evans.
Mangus said in 69 years he had not been “blindsided” like that.
He and the guard honored Joe for his continuing service for the veterans of Gallia County and designated May 1 a special day, despite the ruse.
Amy DiSantis was also honored as a Hometown Hero by Modern Woodmen of America for her continuing support and work with children.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.