Memories of a man who was more than a soldier
It was 32 degrees on Route J. on Mexico’s north side.
The temperature and occasional snowflake did not seem to matter to the at least 50 people lined along the east side of the road, cars and trucks parked behind them in the Azdell Hydraulics parking lot.
Many parked there were relatives, not at the funeral due to COVID-19 concerns.
There were all there for one reason.
They were there to honor Ron Azdell.
Though his funeral was held in Mexico, and the procession wound through Mexico, Azdell was considered by many a son of Centralia.
For the last 10 years or more, every Veterans Day he was at the podium commemorating Veterans’ Day at the Centralia First Baptist Church, Memorial Day at the Centralia City Cemetery and driving a truck pulling a trailer-load of flag poles every time volunteers raised Centralia’s Avenue of Flags.
Some of those gathered that chilly afternoon, all holding flags to wave as the estimated 75-vehicle caravan rolled north to Azdell’s final resting place at the Bethel Church Cemetery, shared a few memories of Centralia’s patriot.
“To pay tribute to an awesome man,” Pam Singleton, said when asked why she was there that Saturday afternoon. “I knew Ron through his work at the Mexico VA home. He was instrumental in bringing the Huey helicopter here. He helped my husband, who was staying there, get a ride on the military helicopter when it visited. He was also there a lot, just helping the residents, the staff, cheering people up, lending a hand with the little things.”
Pausing from tying a large United States Flag to the back of his pick up truck, Richard Henke talked about his old friend Ron Azdell.
For the complete article, see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.