Edinburg Chamber of Commerce & Congressman Gonzalez Honored Retired Colonel Overly

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Texas Border Business

The Edinburg Chamber of Commerce welcomed Congressman Vicente Gonzalez as the program speaker during the Public Affairs Luncheon.

The event welcomed over 250 business and civic leaders on October 30 at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance.  Congressman Gonzalez provided an update on several issues that he is focusing on while serving in Congress. His focus continues to include improved services for veterans, solutions for the border wall and immigration concerns.

Prior to addressing the guests, Congressman Gonzalez made a special presentation to a veteran who served during the Vietnam War.  Retired Colonel Norris Overly (U.S. Air Force) was invited by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce as a special guest to lead guests in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Congressman Gonzalez presented Colonel Overly with a United States flag flown over the nation’s capital in his honor. He was also presented with a certificate commemorating the event.

Colonel Overly is a decorated Vietnam Veteran who was held as a Prison of War.  Colonel Overly flew missions in a B-57 Tactical Dive Bomber during the Vietnam War while based out of the Philippines. He was part of the 13th Tactical Air Command Bomb Squadron and was shot down on September 11, 1967 during a late night mission.

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Upon his capture, he was transported and held as a Prisoner of War at the Hanoi Hilton and listed as Missing in Action throughout his captivity.

During Colonel Overly’s captivity, Navy airman John McCain was shot down and became his cell mate.  Senator McCain credits Colonel Overly with saving his life during his captivity in Hanoi, as his physical injuries were life threatening during that time and Colonel Overly cared for his well-being.

After a year in captivity, Colonel Overly was released and returned to the United States where he was reunited with his wife, Ruth, and two children, Debbie and Mike.

Colonel Overly attended the National War College in Washington DC and continued his military career as a full Colonel until his military retirement at the age of 48.  For his service, he was awarded the Purple Heart and the Silver Star.

Shortly after retiring at the age of 59 from a civilian job in California, Colonel Overly and his wife Ruth moved to Texas to be closer to their family.  They have called the Rio Grande Valley their home for the past 22 years.

Elva Jackson Garza, (Edwards Abstract and Title Co.) Mistress of Ceremonies commented “Thank you Colonel Overly for your service and we truly appreciate that you have joined us today. You are such an inspiration to all of us.”

Attending the Public Affairs Luncheon were Colonel Overly’s wife Ruth, his daughter in law Sandy and his son N. Michael Overly who is the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer for Edwards Abstract and Title Co.

The Public Affairs Luncheon was made possible by the generous support of the following sponsors: Edwards Abstract and Title Co. the Title Sponsor; Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson, L.L.P.; Doctors Hospital at Renaissance and PlainsCapital Bank – Diamond Sponsors and the Silver Sponsors were The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and Greater State Bank.

For more information on the upcoming P.A.L. or other programs, please contact the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce at [email protected] or 383-4974.