The public is invited to the 12th annual tribute to Orange County veterans at 6:00 p.m. Sunday, May 24 at the Heritage Veterans Memorial Plaza, 3810 M.L. King Dr. in Orange. The event is free. Held annually on the plaza on the campus of Orange First Church of the Nazarene, the program includes special speakers, patriotic music and more.

The event will feature greetings from Major Stephen Brint Carlton, USAF Reserve.  Carlton, 32, is the judge of the Orange County Court, having taken office January 1. He grew up in Orange and is a 2000 graduate of Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School.  He holds a Bachelor’s of Science in kinesiology from the University of Texas at Austin, a Master of Health Administration from the University of Florida at Gainesville, and an M.B.A. and Juris Doctor from St. Mary’s University at San Antonio.

Carlton joined the Air Force as a first lieutenant, Medical Service Corps officer, after graduating from the University of Florida. He spent nearly four years on active duty stationed at the 17th Medical Group, Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas. He was responsible for disaster management and group practice management as a health administrator. Carlton also deployed to the 386th Expeditionary Medical Group, Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait for six months in 2009 and helped coordinate aeromedical evacuation missions for Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. He joined the Air Force Reserve, 433d Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas in late 2009 when he began law school.

Carlton continues to serve as an active reservist as a joint medical planner at the 953d Reserve Support Squadron, Joint Planning Support Element, Joint Enabling Capabilities Command, Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia. He deployed to Italy for seven weeks in 2014 as a planner for Operation United Assistance, the U.S. Ebola-response humanitarian mission in West Africa. Carlton is also currently enrolled in the USAF’s Air University, Air Command and Staff College, online Master of Military Operational Art and Science program.

The patriotic tribute will honor all veterans and those currently serving in the military. The program will also feature the Southeast Texas Color Guard, Patriot Riders Motorcycle Group, Vietnam Veterans Mobil Museum, Orange Community Band and other patriotic music. Complimentary refreshments will be served after the program.

The plaza features the life size sculpture “Tears from a Grateful Heart” by Colorado-based artist Scott Stearman and the names of scores of veterans from Orange County.

Inscribed on plaques incorporated into the plaza are the names of airmen, sailors, soldiers and marines as well as veterans of the U.S. Coast Guard and Merchant Marines.

Also featured in the plaza is the ship’s bell from the U.S.S. Dyson. Built in Orange, the U.S.S. Dyson went on to earn the Presidential Unit Citation and 11 battle stars for World War II service.

Orange County veterans’ names may be added in granite for $40. Messages may be added to bricks in the memorial for $100. For more information, call 883-4674.