894 – New Zealand Vietnam Vet waves off death

Francis Toko, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Manu Toko sits with his father’s medals. Photo / Brett Phibbs

In this episode the story about the passing of a brave Vietnam Veteran from New Zealand will be highlighted. It comes from The New Zealand Herald titled: Vietnam War veteran Francis Toko attends last dawn parade in casket and was submitted by: Nikki Preston.

In Australia and New Zealand the military forces and military veterans are referred to as the Anzac. Both countries hold their veterans from all wars in high regard. And that includes Vietnam Veterans. Each year on April 25 they celebrate Anzac Day to honor their veterans. In New Zealand they have a traditional “Dawn Patrol” event to begin the remembrance and honor ceremonies held that day.

Francis Toto was a New Zealand Vietnam Veteran who retired after his service in Vietnam because of an injury to his ear and then went on to serve as a senior prison officer for 38 years at Mt Eden Prison. He loved to attend the dawn patrols on Anzac Day and follow up with visits to RSA Chapters (The Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association) in the area and visit with other military personnel and veterans.

He suffered a stroke eleven years ago that left him paralyzed on one side. Despite this malady he insisted on attending the dawn patrols. His loving family always obliged his requests and would take him to the event in his wheel chair. He had planned to attend the 2017 dawn patrol but he passed away the day before.

Prior to his untimely passing he had already made plans to go the dawn patrol with his son Manu Toko. Manu made the decision to honor his father’s last wishes and take him to the dawn parade anyway. Arrangements were made with the Haven Falls Funeral Home for his family to carry the casket to a concrete bench in front of the Weeping Wall where Francis could be honored during his dawn parade.

Manu and Francis Toko, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Manu Toko sits with his father’s casket at Dawn Service on Auckland Domain. Photo/Gerrie Toko-Mikahere

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