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Sandy RisingerAugust 9, 2018 - VFW Post 8904 recognized the Korean War Armistice 65th anniversary on Friday, July 27, 2018 at 10am. Opening prayer was led by Auxiliary President, Sandy Risinger. 

Larry Hume welcomed everyone, "Thank you for joining us this sunny morning to remember the 65th signing of the peace armistice which ended the Korean War which lasted from June 25, 1950 to July 27 1953. Sixty-five years ago today the war ended and hundreds of thousands of Americans served their country during that war and many gave their lives. Some called the Korean War the forgotten war but those Americans who served during that time will never be forgotten by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Auxiliary. These men served with honor and distinction. Some call it a Korean Conflict, it was not a conflict. A conflict is something you have with your children. It was a war with 33,686 battle deaths; 2,830 non-battle deaths 103,000 wounded in action. Still missing from the Korean War 7,699 Americans. That number missing-in-action is 41 less than last year. Thanks to the Defense POW/MIA accounting agency 41 more families have closure. And with the new climate in North Korea that number is even less. The first 55 landed in Osan Airbase this morning and their remains will be taken to forensic laboratory in Hickman Air Force base in Hawaii for identification. We have one MIA who might be one of that group. 

John Piersol"This morning, our Past Post Commander John Piersol served in Korea in the United States Army during that time. He was a paratrooper earning the Korean Service Medal with five bronze service stars, United Nation Service Medal, Meritorious Unit Citation, Army of Occupation, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation, Coveted Combat Infantryman Badge, and Parachute Badge. I have asked John if he would like to recount some of his memories this morning."

Piersol spoke honoring those he served with, "I have been given the opportunity to speak about the Korean War and the men and women that gave their life during the 4-year campaign in Korea. This is celebrated on this day by Mr. and Mrs. America and all the ships at sea which is a statement an old-time newscaster used to say on the radio. These are my opinions but I tried to remember some of the things that are often not heard of and little humor and insight of these stories."

"I was a draftee, that tells you something right there. I figured if I was going to be in the army I might as well be a good soldier so I volunteered for the airborne school. Next stop was Japan. While in Japan I was assigned to a military company that was attached to the 182nd Airborne and Regimental combat team. Now when I was a real young man and the second World War ended, I remembered seeing movies about GIs in Europe and around that always made the pack of cigarettes an important item. They would trade them for information from the enemy, for food, and sometimes trade them for girlfriends.

"So, when I was going into Korea I figured I would work on a package of cigarettes. When I got there, the cigarettes were not the important thing. The important thing, of all things, was a roll of toilet paper. In 1950, Korea did not know what a roll of toilet paper was, which I thought was very interesting. Another enlightening and funny thing that happened, on my first jump in Korea in 1950, we were to go in and try to locate a mass of American prisoners that was around 250 - 400 miles north of the 38 parallel. Our job was to locate these men and see what we could do about freeing them. The problem was most of our equipment landed in rice paddies and we weren't able to use it or get it out of some of the rice paddies. I remember the job master walking up and down the stick making sure we were hooked up right. And one of his statements were 'Well, boys, we are in for 30 days of rough combat.' One of the troopers said, 'that's easy, Master, I got that right here.' Then the Master said, 'Have you got nights right there?' to which meant we weren't thinking ahead too good, I guess.

"We were the last combat jump to be made without the use of helicopters. In Korea, helicopters were used for the wounded and for observation. They didn't carry many troops or land troops into combat areas. Another fact, the men coming back from the middle east that talked to me about Korea and their war, I asked what the difference was and the main thing that I observed that would scare me to death, if I was in the middle east today, in Korea you had no problem identifying the enemy. They all wore quilted uniforms and they all looked the same. You knew who the enemy was. In the middle east, I guess you would have to kill them all and God pick the goods ones out as there is no way to tell who the enemy is in my opinion."

"The biggest problem our troops had outside of combat was frozen feet. We wore leather shoes, leather boots, thick socks which caused your feet to sweat. When you got cold in the foxhole, your feet froze and you were no longer a combat issue. The North Korean, this was an issue that demoralized a lot of people, they wore tennis shoes, not socks, and all they had on were these quilted uniforms. Their feet didn't freeze because they didn't produce any sweat to cause your feet to freeze. Another fact I hate to bring up is the measure of the incentive of the war. There were more people killed, troops killed in four years than there were in 12 years in Vietnam. I thought that was a very interesting fact. At this point, I would like to read our list of the men and women who served in the Korean War and didn't make it back home. It is pleasure and honor for me to be able to read these names.

"Floyd Harris killed in action in Sept 1950; Clifford Hughes killed in action August 1950; Johnny V. Mena killed in action April 1951; Bobbie F. Mock killed in action  November 1950; Billy Clyde Stephenson killed in action November 1952; Leonard Williams killed in action May 1951; Willie Wilson killed in action May 1951; Willie E. Windham missing in action since August 12, 1950; known prisoners of war are Herbert L. Langford, North Korean prisoner of war, Pearl D. Lucas, North Korean prisoner of war, and Billy Westcoat, Chinese prisoner of war. I thank ya'll for indulging me and if you have any questions I will be happy to answer them. Thank you very much."

Larry Hume said, "The one missing-in-action, Willie Windham, is the one I referred to when I said it would be nice if he was among the 55 that they brought home this morning. One other interesting note, Clifford Hughes, who was killed-in-action also served in WWII and won the Silver Star and came out unscathed, then went back in the Korean War and was killed-in-action. We can never thank those who served during that time enough. John, we thank you."

John Piersol then had the honor of placing the memorial wreath on the Veterans monument and the ceremony was closed by the playing of Taps by Post Junior Vice Jason Samford.

The local William Carroll Crawford Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas chapter donates $2,000 to the Republic of Texas History Center Project

August 8, 2018 - The William Carroll Crawford Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas recently hosted the DRT District IV Workshop which included 22 different chapters and 1 at large member.

Over one hundred members from Center, Crockett, Hemphill, Jasper, Livingston, Longview, Lufkin, Mabank, Nacogdoches, Palestine, San Augustine and Tyler attended the meeting held in the Center High School Cafetorium. The weekend began Friday afternoon with tours of the historic Shelby County Courthouse, the First Ladies in Texas Building on the Courthouse Square and the Center Sanitarium, established in 1928 in an old Victorian style home built in the 1870s. The group met for dinner at Sombreros Restaurant for an evening of food, friendship and fun.

City of Center Mayor David Chadwick welcomes the DRT members to Center.

The business session began Saturday morning with a welcome from Center Mayor David Chadwick. Reports and updates on DRT business were given by the State Board of Management and Committee Chairs. Informational breakout sessions for Chapter officers were then held while the remainder of the group enjoyed time for more shopping at the sales tables. Following the morning business sessions, lunch was served. The lunch was prepared by the Center High School Culinary Arts Class, under the direction of Jennifer Fausett. After lunch the group enjoyed a special music program by Victoria Ford Allen and John Austin Ford. The William Carroll Crawford Chapter then presented a check to President General Barbara Stephens to go to Republic of Texas History Complex and Headquarters Building, to be built in Austin.

The lunch was prepared by the Center High School Culinary Arts Class, under the direction of Jennifer Fausett.

The Workshop concluded with the presentation of twenty five and fifty year member pins, door prize drawings, an invitation to the 2019 Workshop in Crockett and the singing of the Texas state son, “Texas, Our Texas.”

Attending from the William Carroll Crawford Chapter: President Judy Lee, Vice-president Gina Ferren, Treasurer Merle Howard, Chaplain Fay Eddins, Registrar Maggie Casto, Historians Barbara McClellan and Gail Sholar and Parliamentarian Elizabeth Pate. Other chapter members attending were Alease Copelin, Vickie Martin, JJ Ford, Victoria Allen, Sue Gardner, Nancy Keeling Stephens, Carol Looney, Bonnie Dorman, Janice Butler, and John Austin Ford, representing the JJE Gibson Children of the Republic of Texas Chapter.

August 6, 2018 - Greg Grant, an award-winning horticulturist, conservationist, and writer from Arcadia, Texas, wrote an article for the Arbor Gate Blog on August 6th about the topic of ribbon cane syrup and included a "Goodbye to Willie Swindle." Willie Swindle was a Shelby County local from the Possum Trot community and he was known for making ribbon cane syrup. He passed away the end of July at the age of 103. To read the article, click the following link -

It's a good read.

August 6, 2018 - Hazel Miller of Joaquin shared a photo of five generations of the Miller Family. Carl Miller of Joaquin is standing to the left of his 94 year-old mom, Mertice Newton. His daughter La Donna Rhea is standing on the right side and his grandson Josh Rhea is standing in the middle holding Michaela Rhea who is the great-great-granddaughter of Mertice Newton.

August 3, 2018 - The Shelby County Appraisal District has closed early today (Friday, August 3) due to unexpected fumigation. We will reopen at 8:30 Monday morning.

August 3, 2018 - The school year is just around the corner and the Shelby County Children’s Advocacy Center wants you to help by providing kids with a backpack.

There are two ways to donate:

1. Buy a backpack yourself and fill it with basic school supplies
2. Give a $25 donation that will sufficiently provide one child with a pack and supplies.

Take backpacks to the Shelby County Children’s Advocacy Center, 131 Tenaha Street, Center, Texas from 8-3 Monday thru Friday, or mail donation to PO Box 2072, Center 75935. For more information, give us a call at 936-590-9864.

Please give by August 3rd.

The children receiving these backpacks all benefit from life-changing programs made available by the SCCAC.

August 2, 2018 - The Xi Alpha Delta Rho chapter of Beta Sigma Phi was honored to make a donation to Center High School's annual Project Graduation.  Pictured above is the 2018 Chairman of CHS Project Graduation, Shelley Locke, with Xi Alpha Delta Rho members Mindy Henson, President Anna Stuever and Benita Collard. Project Graduation is held each year at Center High School as a fun-filled all-night party for graduates of Center High School, intended to keep students safe in a drug-free, alcohol-free environment, while making memories with their classmates. 

Project Graduation originated in Maine in response to the deaths of twelve teenagers in related highway crashes. The idea of Project Graduation is spreading across the nation during graduation and prom night, since these are the two most deadly nights for teenagers. Project Graduation has saved lives in every community where it is held and hundreds of schools in the state of Texas host these parties.

Pictured (from left), WM Larry Molloy, Joe Dillon 70-year award, Darrell Rhodes 50-year award, Harvey Tipton 50-year award, and RW Stacy Cranford DDGM District 15.

July 31, 2018 - Timpson Lodge #437 A.F. & A.M. bestowed honors upon three of its members at a recent meeting held Saturday, July 28, 2018.

This included two 50-year service awards to Darrell Rhodes and Harvey Tipton as well as one 70-year award to Joe Dillon.

July 27, 2018 - The Piney Woods Photographic Society held their regular monthly meeting this past Saturday, July 21, 2018 with a really great workshop featuring "Shooting Still and Moving Water" in preparation for their August meeting Challenge "Water".

The July Challenge entitled "Flying" had some 27 unique and outstanding photographs submitted by members for critique. After all the votes were submitted the July Challenge winners are:

July Challenge - Flight

First Place - Linda Henson, Milam, TX

Second Place - Bobbie Jean Wood, Center, TX 

Third Place (Tie) - Jan Carter, San Augustine, TX

Third Place (Tie) - Melvin Henson, Milam, TX

To view all the challenge photos check our Flickr page, Piney Woods Photo. The next regular meeting will be held Saturday, August 18, 2018 at the First United Methodist Church, 211 Porter St., Center, TX. from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. in the basement area. For more information about the Piney Woods Photographic Club, contact, via text or call, Billie Jones, secretary, 936-591-2426.

July 26, 2018 - Over last week nearly 700 firefighters attended the 113th Louisiana State Fireman’s Association Annual Conference. Taking place over five days beginning with H.O.T. Drills (hands on training), then the official start of the conference began last Thursday evening with opening ceremony and dedication of the conference. The conference was dedicated to three men, all from Joaquin.

The first dedication was to the late Mike Wood of the Joaquin Volunteer Fire Dept. Mr. Wood served as firefighter, Training officer, and Fire Chief of the department through his over thirty year fire service career and served for over almost thirty years as a guest instructor at the prestigious Texas A&M Municipal Fire School. Charles Metcalf said, “Personally speaking, he is the reason for my nearly 26 year career in the fire service.”

The next dedication was to two men, almost legends around Joaquin High School. The conference was then dedicated to Shane and Dakota Metcalf, both of Joaquin. Shane and Dakota are the sons of Charles and the late Joyce Metcalf, also “little brothers” of Charlie and Jimmy Metcalf. Shane’s most favorite times were playing “waterboy” or “coach” if you asked him to the mighty Joaquin Rams and those times have not changed a bit. Dakota’s best memories of Joaquin was helping at the school and being friendly to everyone he met, most importantly Taylor Wilkerson.

The Mike Wood Memorial Scholarship received a contribution to remember the dedication, while Shane and Dakota both received plaques to remember this day.