The annual Four Chaplains Ceremony at the American Legion Post 16 in Roseburg came with a twist this year.
Each of the four people inducted into the Chapel of Four Chaplains Legion of Honor Tuesday was a woman.
Among this year’s recipients were former Roseburg VA Medical Center veteran services officer Evelyn Anderson and Community Cancer Center Executive Director Tammy Turner.
Anderson, who is a Korean-era Marine veteran and served 19 years as a veteran services officer at the Roseburg VA, received her award from fellow Marine veteran Jim Barnett.
Turner, who is an Air Force veteran and past American Women Veterans Association president, received her award from Mel Cheney, her predecessor at the cancer center.
FISH Food Pantry Executive Director Kim Turner, an Air Force veteran, was also awarded membership but wasn’t present Tuesday.
Former Roseburg National Cemetery technician Gigi Grimes, a Navy veteran, was also awarded membership but wasn’t present.
The recipients didn’t know they were to receive the award ahead of time.
“They were surprised,” said Carol Hunt, who attended Tuesday’s ceremony. She said about 20 people turned up, a smaller than usual turnout likely due to the pandemic.
The ceremony is a commemoration of four chaplains — a Methodist minister, Roman Catholic priest, a Rabbi and a Dutch Reformed minister.
The four died Feb. 3, 1943 when the U.S. Army Transport ship Dorchester sank in the Atlantic Ocean after it was torpedoed by a German submarine during World War II. The ship was on its way to Greenland in the North Atlantic Ocean but was about 150 miles from its base there when it sank.
The four chaplains gave their life jackets to others instead of saving themselves. They were among 672 people who drowned when the ship went down.
According to the survivors, the chaplains sang and prayed in Latin, Hebrew and English until their deaths.
Recipients of the Four Chaplains award must be nominated and approved by the Chapel of Four Chaplains in Philadelphia. The award recognizes outstanding members of society whose lives model the spirit of service to community and humanity modeled by the four chaplains.