Memorial Day services conducted at Fallon, Fernley cemeteries

Navy vet reflects on those who served their country

Commander Teri Korsma from Veterans for Foreign Wars Post 1002 in Fallon offers remarks at The Garden Funeral Home's veterans' section on Memorial Day.

Commander Teri Korsma from Veterans for Foreign Wars Post 1002 in Fallon offers remarks at The Garden Funeral Home's veterans' section on Memorial Day.
Photo by Steve Ranson.

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Pat LeClaire, a longtime member of Fleet Reserve Association Branch 192 in Fallon, participated in the Memorial Day remembrances at three local cemeteries — Churchill County, the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe and The Gardens. His parents are interred at The Gardens.

“Being out here in the presence of these grave markers and all these veterans who are buried out here means so much more, and it’s so more personal to actually take part in these services whether you’re a volunteer, giving a tribute, holding a flag or being a witness,” LeClaire said. “It is so much more personal and meaningful, much more to me and to those who are here.”

Jill Wright/Numa News
Elder Ashley George gives a prayer at the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe’s cemetery on Memorial Day.

His father, Wallace, served in the U.S. Army during World War II and died in 2005. His mother died in 1994. The Navy veteran added members of FRA 192 also have families and friends interred at the NNVMC as well as the shipmates they honor at both locations each year.

“You miss someone no matter how long ago they passed away,” LeClaire said.

The haunting sounds of the bagpipes and the precision of drummers tapping their beat reverberated across the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Fernley — home to more than 8,000 souls who served their country in wartime and during peace.

Under a tree near the main pavilion, Gerald Schutz sat and watched, reflecting on those who served, especially family members.

Steve Ranson/LVN
U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei, right, speaks with Fernley resident Anita Trone, who’s also the president of the Fernley Republican Women, before he delivers remarks at the Memorial Day remembrance at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery.


“My entire family was Navy,” Schutz said. “My uncle retired as a commander, my dad was in the Coast Guard at Pearl Harbor, but he transferred out two months before it was hit. I went in two days before my 18th birthday on Flag Day, and my oldest went in during the Gulf War.”

Schutz recalled how his brother served on two aircraft carriers during the Vietnam War.

Then his thoughts turned to his son.

“My youngest wanted to go into the Marines,” he said. “He did two tours in Afghanistan, had all kinds of medals and awards. He was a sharpshooter.”

Steve Ranson/LVN
A bagpiper plays at the Memorial Day remembrance at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Fernley.


Schutz grew quieter, his voice shaky. His eyes welled up with tears.

“My youngest was in the Marines for 13 years … eight months out he passed away,” Shultz revealed of his son’s death in 2017. “He’s interred in Southern California to be close to his wife.”

The memories remain fresh with the Fernley resident, who moved to Nevada in 2012 from California’s Central Valley. Hearing and remembering the stories of those interred at Fernley has been important for Schutz, a member of the Patriot Guard Riders.

Steve Ranson/LVN
A flag detail displayed flags at all three Churchill County cemeteries.

“I come out here every chance I get for ceremonies and Honor Flight,” Schutz said, reflecting on how he also escorted Gold Star families and mothers in Modesto.

Congressman Mark Amodei of Congressional District 2, an Army veteran who served in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, surveyed the hundreds of people who gathered near the pavilion.

“It’s the one day out of the year where you can come hang out with people who share the same experiences,” he said. “Some of them have served, some of them have supported those who served.”

From its origins more than two decades ago to 2021, Amodei said cemetery has transformed the desert into a special spot.

Jill Wright/Numa News
Korean War veteran Ernie Hooper prays in his native language at every Memorial Day ceremony at the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe’s veterans’ memorial.


“There’s two things that make today special,” he said. “We honor those who are here, we honor those who have served. And we honor those of you who have supported these folks.”

Amodei also discussed the percentage of the nation’s population who are veterans. He said the number of men and women who support freedom is becoming smaller.

Amodei, who has served in Congress since 2011, said the last Monday in May is a special day, and like others assembled at the NNVMC, he becomes touched with the melodious Scottish music played by the Sierra Highlanders and taps.

“As I get older and hear those bagpipes and hear that bugle … I always get a lump in my throat,” he said.

Jill Wright/Numa News
Tribal council member Phillip Johnson speaks on Memorial Day at the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe’s veterans’ memorial.


Steve Ranson/LVN
Fallon Mayor Ken Tedford, right, attends Memorial Day ceremonies at The Gardens.



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