Levy Court honors veteran who served in all 5 military branches

276736_480792741934390_714687773_nDOVER — Levy Court commissioners executed a rare tradition at their meeting Tuesday night by awarding the late Robert Earl Thorne Sr. the Kent County medal of honor.

The veteran, who died this summer, was recognized for his service in all five military branches.

The medal is the highest honor the Levy Court can bestow.

“Unfortunately for us, Robert succumbed to his battle with cancer before we had a chance to meet him,” said Commissioner Allan Angel. “But in his life he had the unique distinction of serving in the Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. He was also a local businessman, an active member of his church and tireless advocate for the elderly, children, veterans and the homeless.”

Allan Angel

Allan Angel

Mr. Thorne’s sister, Faye White, was present to receive the award on his behalf. Ms. White herself had recommended her brother for commendation shortly after his death.

“I actually didn’t even know he served in all the branches myself until he was in the hospital,” said Ms. White.

It wasn’t until Mr. Thorne had asked his sister to obtain his DD Form 214s, certificates of release issued by the U.S. Department of Defense that she noticed he’d served in multiple branches.

She explained that his background in construction often resulted in calls for specialized work with the different military branches that brought him around the country and world.

When asked why Mr. Thorne thought it was so important to give so much of his life to military and community service, Ms. White said:

“We were just always raised to be helping and giving without thinking too much about receiving. I think he just felt he should just keep doing what he was doing because his country needed him.”

Also recognized during the meeting was Kent County library technician Frances Gunning.

Ms. Gunning was selected as October Employee of the Month by Kent County department heads for her outstanding customer service specifically with the Bookmobile.

The Bookmobile, operating since 2004, acts as a mobile library that delivers reading materials to underserved communities such as veterans’ homes, senior housing communities, daycare centers and charter schools. It has 15 stops per week throughout the Levy Court districts, all of which are made by Ms. Gunning.

In fact, she carries the reputation of being the only person the aging Bookmobile, named Lucy, will even start and run properly for.

During recognition of Ms. Gunning’s accomplishments, Levy Court President P. Brooks Banta noted that the Levy Court had, at one point, considered decommissioning the Bookmobile. But, due to the response from its devoted fan base, they quickly reconsidered.

“I appreciate the Levy Court’s support, because people really do love the service,” said Ms. Gunning. “I talked to some of my patrons today and asked what I should say to the Levy Court, and all they said was just keep the bookmobile going.”

Reach staff writer Ian Gronau at igronau@newszap.com

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