- Associated Press - Sunday, June 14, 2015

NEWTON, Ill. (AP) - In front of a group of about 100 people on a sunny Saturday afternoon, Frank Hull told the story of a Newton man who never made it home from Vietnam.

Tony Housh had been a flight engineer on a Chinook helicopter when it went down April 19, 1968, as a result of anti-aircraft fire. With fellow members of the Rolling Thunder club gathered behind him on the south lawn of the Jasper County Courthouse, Hull shared Housh’s presumed fate.

“Search and rescue missions were not productive and he was declared missing in action,” the Olney man said. “On Sept. 2, 1975, he was presumed to have died while missing.”

Housh and the 91,000 other service personnel who never came home, whether as prisoners of war or missing in action, were honored with the unveiling of a special chair. Hull, who founded the Rolling Thunder group in Olney, said the Newton chair is the 13th such structure his group has placed in downstate Illinois. He added that the group plans to unveil another five chairs by the end of the year.

Hull said the object of placing the black chair in a prominent location is to enhance Rolling Thunder’s mission of keeping the memories of imprisoned and missing soldiers alive.

“We want to educate the public that many POWs were left behind,” he said. “We also want to preserve the past and protect future generations of servicemen and women.

“We do these chairs to raise public awareness,” Hull added. “We also encourage people to lobby their legislators to get laws passed that would get these people back to American soil.”

Jasper County Board Vice Chairman Jim Weber said the chair is a fitting way to honor all service people from Jasper County, not just the imprisoned and missing.

“We are very humbled and very appreciative to Rolling Thunder for this gesture,” Weber said. “We know it will add to the courthouse square and the people of Jasper County are very pleased to have it here.”

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Source: Effingham Daily News, https://bit.ly/1HAxvAS

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Information from: Effingham Daily News, https://www.effinghamdailynews.com

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