Iraq-bound Marines honor one of their own |

Iraq-bound Marines honor one of their own

Just over two weeks ago, John Bailey gave a mine tour to a group of men, just like he’s done hundreds of times before.

But this time it was different. The man who spends December playing Santa Claus across Northern Nevada got to talking with this group of men. He found out they were Marines who had recently returned from Iraq and were due to go back in October.

Feeling a kinship, Bailey told them he too was a Marine and had fought at Iwo Jima. Soon after the tour ended and the men went on their way.

Then Bailey showed up for work on Sept. 15, thinking he had a tour at 12:15 p.m. – but he had been given the wrong time.

“I thought it was odd that they would tell me 12:30 and it was actually at 12:15. Everyone knew what was going on but me,” Bailey said.

Then the four men he had spoken to a week earlier walked in, in full dress uniform and presented Bailey with a three-by-five-foot flag representing the flag raising at Iwo Jima. The men also autographed it.

“Here these guys have been to Iraq and are due to go back and they are impressed with me, I was speechless,” Bailey said.

The flag now hangs in his living room, and Bailey said he plans to get a pole and display the flag in upcoming parades.

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Former Nevada Appeal columnist Richard Moreno has been selected as a 2007 recipient of the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame Silver Pen award. The award recognizes emerging or mid-career writers who have shown substantial achievement in their work and a demonstrated connection with Nevada in either their subject matter or by living in the state.

The Friends of the Library at the University of Nevada, Reno, which oversees the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame, also selected noted Nevada authors Emma Sepulveda and Douglas Unger to the Hall of Fame and musician/novelist Willy Vlautin as a Silver Pen award winner.

In honoring Moreno, the selection committee cited his “significant work in regards to the state of Nevada,” his “obvious interest in writing about Nevada issues/places over the past 25 years” and the “evidence of a commitment to and love for the state of Nevada.”

Moreno, who is director of student publications and an instructor in the English and journalism departments at Western Illinois University, served as publisher of Nevada Magazine for 14 years. He is the author of seven Nevada-related books, including: Endless Nevada; The Roadside History of Nevada; The Nevada Trivia Book; Nevada: Mountain Highs and Desert Lows; The Backyard Traveler; The Backyard Traveler Returns; and Backyard Travels in Northern Nevada.

For the past two decades, Moreno has written an award-winning weekly history/travel column about Nevada that has appeared in the Lahontan Valley News, Nevada Appeal and the Record-Courier

He is a former journalism instructor at the Reynolds School of Journalism, University of Nevada, Reno, and former director of advertising and public relations for the Nevada Commission on Tourism, where he created the successful “Highway 50: The Loneliest Road in America” promotion.

Moreno is currently completing his eighth book, Nevada Curiosities, for Globe-Pequot Press and maintains a travel blog, The Backyard Traveler, which spotlights his many travel stories about Nevada. He resides in Macomb, Ill., with his wife and two children, but still makes frequent trips to the Silver State.