This 4th of July Veteran Paul Hampton will ride aboard the Forks Old Fashioned 4th of July float in the Grand Parade, Thursday at noon. Paul and his wife Elsie came to Forks from Florida in 1977 for Paul’s job with the Department of Natural Resources.
During his time at the DNR Paul worked with Correction Center crews and as assistant Superintendent at Olympic Corrections Center. He later became Protection Forester and retired from the DNR after 28 years, although he says he is still on call and fills in when needed.
Paul enlisted in the Navy in 1964 and saw active duty in Vietnam in 1966 – 1967. Paul and Elsie were married only four days when he got shipped out, Paul said, “When you are married, your spouse is in the military too!”
The Hamptons have three children. In addition to filling in at the DNR Paul serves on the board of directors for Sarge’s Place, he also helps make the Veteran’s Stand Down happen each May in Forks. Paul helps with set-up, take down and will provide veterans a ride to the event if they need it.
Paul has been through all the chairs for the Forks Elks three times! One of the programs dear to his heart is the Elks Children’s Therapy program. He also helps out with general projects at the Forks Elks Lodge; the day I talked to him he was helping to install new lighting at the Lodge on Merchant Rd.
Guy and Betty Decker will be honored this year as Grand Marshals in the Forks Old Fashioned 4th of July parade. The Decker roots go way back on the West End. Guy’s great-grandfather, Guy the first, served with a rescue crew out of Neah Bay in the early 1900s, pre-Coast Guard! Guy spent some of his growing-up years in Clearwater before coming to Forks.
Betty’s family came to the West End for work and her father was employed by Bloedel Donovan near Clallam Bay. She later attended school at Beaver.
Betty and Guy met when Betty needed a ride home from a dance at the Grange that was located on the Quillayute Prairie. “I wasn’t going home with the guy I went to the dance with,” Betty said. “I saw Guy and he gave me a ride, home, we have been together ever since.”
The Deckers were married in 1958 at the Forks Congregational Church. They have three children; Guy, Peggy and Bill, and according to Betty lots of other kids spent time at their home over the years.
Guy worked as a log truck driver and an opportunity arose to purchase the Forks Builder’s Supply and Guy left truck driving for the store. After closing the business the Deckers moved to Montana; health issues for Betty brought them back to Forks a few years ago; Betty is happy to be back … Guy … sometimes not as much, but the lower rainfall this year has been a good thing as far as he is concerned.
The Deckers’ favorite 4th of July memory is family outings to their cabin on the river.
West End Historical Society Pioneer
It has taken several years to convince her but Gladys Allen finally agreed to be honored in this years’ parade as the WEHS Pioneer. Gladys has lived her entire life in Forks. The Nelson family came to Forks for her fathers’ work in the timber industry as a busheler.
Gladys was married to Gordy Allen for 66 years, he passed 6 years ago. Gladys has three children that also live on the West End; Cheryl, Randy, and Bruce. Gladys says she loves living in Forks, and as far as historical stuff she said, “I like anything that has to do with the history of our community.”
She also complimented the Forks Old Fashioned 4th, “I really enjoy the Veteran honored each time on the float, and they do it all over the Peninsula too!” adding “Our country needs more of that.”
Christi Baron, Editor