The Tennessee State Daughters of the American Revolution recently presented a flag to Oak Ridge Cemetery Park in honor of the memory of a Grainger County Vietnam veteran who died without living relatives to claim his body.
The TSDAR Chairman of the Flag of the United States Committee, Nannette Feeback, who is also the TSDAR state co-chairman of the transportation committee, Avery Trace, Chapter NSDAR vice regent, and Laurel Reeves, a member of the State of Franklin Chapter of the NSDAR, were present at the funeral of PFC. Kenneth Patrick Shemanski on Aug. 26 in the Mountain Home National Cemetery in Johnson City.
Shemanski had died in March, but with no living relatives to claim the body, he was not laid to rest until August.
The flag which covered Shemanski’s coffin was given to Feeback for safe keeping.
Feeback contacted Samuel Doak Chapter of Morristown Regent Joyce Damon in hopes of finding the appropriate people or organization to give Shemanski’s flag.
Damon asked if it was possible to do research on Shemanski to know him as a man, not just as a name.
She learned Shemanski lived in Rutledge from 1995 to 1997. Shemanski’s mother was a native of Bean Station from her death notice, his brother had attended Oak Ridge High School in Anderson County, and both parents were buried in the Oak Ridge Memorial Park Cemetery. Damon contacted Grainger County archivist Mary Lynn Gilmore for more information on Shemanski, however, there were no records in Rutledge, though it was listed as his hometown.
Teri Oaks, regent of the Clinch Bend Chapter of the NSDAR, discovered that Evelyn Elam Shemanski, Shemanski’s mother, was a public school teacher, and taught at various Oak Ridge schools, dying in 1990 in Newport News, Virginia, and was buried in Oak Ridge. Shemanski’s father, Michael, died in 1977 in Hillsborough, Florida, and was also buried in Oak Ridge Memorial Park Cemetery. His brother Thomas was also listed as deceased.
Without any further information available, it was decided to present Shemanski’s flag to the Oak Ridge Memorial Park Cemetery to be flown in the area where his parents are buried.
Shemanski’s flag was presented to David Sansom, a representative from the Oak Ridge Memorial Park Cemetery, by Damon, First Vice Regent Tracy Wood, Registrar Barbara Baker and Julia Jordan. Regent Teri Oaks and Registrar Kathy Chippendale of the Clinch Bend Chapter NSDAR were also in attendance. Feeback was also given the flag draping Shemanski’s coffin.