The Rotary Club of Murrieta honored four special heroes during the Field of Honor which took place in Murrieta Town Square Park, November 7-14. The recognition of special heroes is a tradition of the annual event which this year took place under pandemic conditions requiring face masks and social distancing.

The Heroes nominated by friends and family and selected by the Rotary club include a community volunteer and three veterans, whose service ranges from World War II, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan. Each will received a special medallion and flag on the Field. They included:

Sharon Boll, Volunteer Extraordinaire
The Colony at Californian Oaks

After Sharon Boll read a newspaper article about an upcoming Murrieta Field of Honor, she gathered a few of her neighbors and volunteered to help with assembling the new American flags ordered every year.  The next year, she put out word to all Colony residents and now “we pack the room each year,” she says. “We have a great group at the Colony.”  She has also bought Field of Honor flags which she displays on her Colony cul de sac every national holiday.

Sharon should know.  The retired 25-year school teacher stays busy year around leading volunteer efforts for her community.  She is the Sunshine Committee Reception Chair arranging memorial receptions for families of deceased Colony residents and has been in charge of Colony funerals for 15 years.  She has led food distribution there during the COVID crisis, distributing food boxes provided by the County and the Salvation Army.  She is the Thanksgiving with a Marine Coordinator and host.  With transportation funds from Waste Management, they arrange a bus to pick up Marines at Camp Pendleton to spend a day with Colony families.

Sharon is the Colony’s Holiday Host, welcoming those without families into her home to share holidays.  Throughout the year, Sharon is the Food Train Leader in the Colony, coordinating meals for those too ill to cook or get out and get groceries.  And during the current pandemic, she has coordinated food delivery every Tuesday for meals provided by the Riverside County Office of Aging.

A 24-year Colony resident, Sharon and her husband, Dale, moved to the Colony from Washington, DC, where he followed a career in the Marines with work in the Secret Service and in criminal investigations for the Environmental Protection Agency.

Hero and Volunteer Sharon Boll received her medallion from Past Rotary District Governor George Steele at the Field of Honor.

Sergeant William Galbraith
U.S. Army 1942-1947

Bill enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1942, and while training at Fort McArthur, he volunteered to join the airborne (that allowed for an additional $50 a month in pay). Four months later, he was parachute certified and earned his jump wings with the rest of 3rd battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. After intense weapon training, military tactics and maneuvers, the regiment was attached to the 101st Airborne Division and prepared for a move to England and more training.

On the evening of June 5, 1944, Bill boarded a C-47 transport to fly over the coast of France for the invasion of Europe. He was in one of the last group of paratroopers to go in, before 155,000 troops landed on the beaches of Normandy for the D-Day invasion. Bill landed on the southwest of St. Come-du-Mont where he met up with the “I” Company’s senior enlisted man who had broken his ankle on landing. Bill assisted the sergeant until they could get to safety. Moving through the night they met up with other troopers and starting to enter a field, they encountered enemy machine gun fire. Bill and the sergeant were still in the shadows of hedges bordering the field and decided to go a different route. He never saw the others who had entered the field again.

By September 1944, Bill and the 101st were involved in Operation Market Garden, the largest airborne invasion of all time. The 101st Airborne Division was attached to the First British Airborne Division. The 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment was to drop into the area of Son, Holland, during daylight and seize a bridge over the Wilhelmina Canal before the Germans could destroy it. They were then to move south again and liberate the town of Eindhoven. Bill’s war ended in Holland when he was seriously wounded by two 88mm cannons while entering the outskirts of Eindhoven. Bill was struck in the leg and the shoulder. A local resident drug him into his house and tended the wounds as best he could. Back in England, he was operated on and rehabilitated before being honorably discharged on June 18, 1947. He married his Scottish sweetheart, Anna, who he met while stationed in England and they raised 10 children.

Murrieta Rotary President LouEllen Ficke presented World War II veteran Bill Galbraith with his Hero medallion at the Murrieta Field of Honor.

First Sergeant Kenneth J. Lepore
United States Army Reserve (Ret.)

First Sergeant Lepore’s military career spans over 40 years and three wars; Vietnam, Saudi (Gulf), and Operation Enduring Freedom. He was drafted into the US Army in 1967, and after Basic Training, he specialized in Infantry Training, Airborne training, and Jungle Expert training. He was assigned to the elite 173rd Airborne Brigade (Separate) performing counter-insurgency operations in the Republic of Vietnam. After 383 days of duty, he returned home and was released from active duty. He subsequently served in the California Army National Guard as a reservist, and later in the US Army Reserve from which he retired in 2008.

1SG Lepore has been awarded the US Army’s prestigious Combat Infantry Badge, the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts, the Air Medal, and over 33 other awards for Valor, Service, and Achievement. In addition, he earned the US Parachutist Badge, Pathfinder Badge, and the Republic of Vietnam (RVN) Ranger Badge, Parachutist Badge, and the Jump Status Badge.

Currently residing in Murrieta with his family, Ken stays involved with veterans’ activities and the ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) programs. He is a member of the City of Murrieta’s Veterans’ Committee assisting in designing their Veterans Memorial Park. Ken designed the City’s Killed in Action Monument. His other memorials the Prisoner Of War/Missing In Action Table can be seen in the Mess Halls at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton and Naval Air Station Yuma, AZ. He continues to serve veteran fraternal organizations (Disabled American Veterans, International Society of the 173d Airborne Brigade Separate, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Marine Corps League) as a member in good standing, as a Service Officer, a Past Commander, and as a State Delegate.

Rotarian and Veteran Tim Lickness presented the Hero medallion to Ken Lepore.

E7 Master Sergeant Richard C Timberlake
United States Air Force (Ret.)

Richard’s willingness to help others led him to join the Air Force two years after his Poway high school graduation, starting a career that spanned 20 years plus four additional years as a military contractor. As an aviator, Richard deployed to Afghanistan three times and Iraq once. He flew a total of 225 combat sorties earning him the U.S. Air Force Air Medal nine times. He flew missions to ensure voters safety in country-wide free democratic elections and was awarded the Air Force’s Combat Action Medal, “for deliberately going outside the defended perimeter to conduct aerial combat operations at risk of grave danger, and for coming under direct enemy attack by lethal weapons while performing his duties.”

Volunteering is something he does, seemingly wherever he is. He coached youth soccer and baseball in various locations around the world and mowed grass and repaired facilities at an Okinawa orphanage. He helped organize the very first youth Special Olympics in Okinawa, now an annual event. Recognizing his outreach effort, Richard was awarded the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal twice.

After his Air Force retirement in 2008, Rich accepted a position as a New Equipment Training Officer, working for the Army in Afghanistan and Iraq. He traveled to the most remote outposts and fire bases to set up night vision cameras and surveillance equipment and trained soldiers how to use the systems. He called it “the most rewarding work I have ever done. When a soldier sees outside their perimeter at night for the first time, it was a great feeling to have helped them.” He came home finally in 2012 after a deadly attack in Iraq where he lived.

The Field of Honor is presented as a community service by the Rotary Club of Murrieta in partnership with the City of Murrieta and is held in Town Square Park, located just two blocks off of I-15, and stretching from City Hall at Jefferson and Kalmia streets, to the Library.