State lawmakers are set to celebrate the lives of three Suffolk citizens who died last year.
This legislative session, Del. Chris Jones is chief patron of three bills to honor Sgt. Charles Calvin Strong, a Nansemond River High School graduate killed serving in Afghanistan with the U.S. Marines; Donald Elwood Carter, a businessman killed outside his East Washington Street furniture showroom; and William Gerald “Jerry” Saunders Jr., a former Chuckatuck Volunteer Fire Department chief who served the organization for 60 years.
Strong was killed in Herat Province in September in an inside attack by a member of the Afghan National Army. He left behind a young wife and a hometown in disbelief.
Jones’ House joint resolution says Strong was a “focused and hardworking Marine” who quickly moved up through the ranks. He was on his fourth combat tour.
“Sergeant Strong’s noble sacrifice is a reminder of the dangers faced by American men and women in uniform around the world, whose dedication to duty and country places them in harm’s way,” the resolution states.
Carter, 82, was gunned down in September during what prosecutors described as a botched robbery. Three defendants face charges including first-degree murder.
The resolution notes Carter’s honorable service to his country during the Korean War and efforts to build the family business afterward.
“Over the course of his distinguished 60-year career, Don Carter helped his business expand and become an integral part of the community, known for both high-quality products and excellent customer service,” the resolution states.
He served as a deacon at Cypress Chapel Christian Church, the resolution notes, and will be “fondly remembered and greatly missed by his wife, Edna; children, Donald, Jr., Susan, and Kathryn, and their families; and numerous other family members and friends.”
Saunders, meanwhile, also honorably served his country, in the U.S. Air Force, for four years, his resolution notes.
While with the volunteer fire department all those years, he was a “trusted mentor to countless volunteer firefighters, and he left a legacy of excellence for future chiefs,” it states.
Also noted is Saunders’ service to the Chuckatuck Ruritan Club, the auxiliary police, Boy Scouts of America Troop 25 and “many other organizations.”
“Jerry Saunders enjoyed fellowship and worship with the Chuckatuck community as an active member of Oakland Christian United Church of Christ,” the resolution states.
“Jerry Saunders will be lovingly remembered and greatly missed by his wife, Iola; children, Wendy and Jay, and their families; and numerous other family members, friends, and fellow firefighters.”