Local hero says he was falsely accused of rioting
A Vietnam veteran in the Mid-Ohio Valley drew online attacks over the weekend and contrasting support this week after being accused of participation in the Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington, D.C.
“It’s really a bad feeling to be accused of something you know you didn’t do, and you’re guilty before proven innocent,” said Roy Trembly, of Parkersburg. “And they just tarnish my reputation? My God, I just, I don’t know.”
Trembly, whose 74th birthday was Tuesday, was compared in likeness both on a since-deleted Facebook post by the Wood County Indivisible page and on Twitter in response to a New York City-based photographer’s photo inside the Capitol building after protesters entered.
The photographer was previously credited snapping the same photograph which some accusers allege shows a former local official.
“He was my councilman for my district,” said Trembly. “We’re not friends or acquaintances …They tried to kind of throw both of us together there.”
That person has denied having entered the Capitol.
Trembly noted his ventures on Jan. 6 weren’t as far from his West Virginia home.
“I was grocery shopping, here, I went to Sam’s Club and then to Aldi’s,” he described.
He has a $171.68 credit card receipt from Sam’s Club.
“I paid cash at Aldi,” he said.
The accusation was deleted Monday and net a subsequent Facebook apology post.
A past-quoted representative of the Wood County Indivisible page Eric Engle did not return calls for comment Tuesday.
“I’m not really authorized to speak for the group at this time,” said a past protest organizer linked to the same page, Jeanne Peters. “I can’t really pass you on to anybody.”
She confirmed the page’s ownership was anonymous.
The website link the group published on the Facebook page returned as of Monday a non-existent Wix domain name.
The Facebook page remained active as of 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Monday’s apology stated:
“Wood County Indivisible has been notified by Roy Trembly that he was not present at the events at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Based on assertions by Mr. Trembly and his associates that he was not present at the Capitol, the post was immediately removed. We regret any confusion this may have caused.”
But the apology drew additional ire from the veteran community of the valley with one Washington County Veterans Service Commissioner calling the apology not enough, before his comments on the page were deleted multiple times.
“Not only is he a war hero who’s shed his blood twice for his country but he’s also local hero that has continued to serve after his service and does so in an exceptional manner. And these guys want to defame him? It just, it blows my mind,” said Jared Smith, of Marietta. “Their apology was despicable … I think that Facebook page is a cover for more division, and that’s what we have to stop. We have to assist each individual [to stop] the division within themselves and quit spreading the hate.”
Neither Trembly nor Smith condone the storming of the Capitol or the violence, both stating they served the nation through the U.S. Armed Forces to defend free and fair elections.
But Trembly’s biggest fear was the impact the accusations would have on future philanthropic work he engages in with local veterans and the families of those who have given their lives in the service of the nation.
“What really upset me was they put it on the site where the Gold Star Family Memorial Monument was, that’s really what upset me the most,” he said.
Janelle Patterson may be reached at