Lions Club works to make county WW II memorial a reality

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 3, 2002

It’s holiday time once again as families gather at lakes, in backyards and at beaches to celebrate the Glorious Fourth together.

A local civic organization hopes that, amid the festivities, everyone will remember some very special people whose sacrifices helped keep the celebration of Independence Day a vital part of our lives here in Butler County.

The Greenville Lions Club is spearheading a countywide effort to raise funds for a memorial in honor of all the Butler County men who lost their lives serving the nation during World War II.

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The Lions are acting as the coordinating committee for this campaign with Gene Hardin and Herbert Morton serving as co-chairs.

&uot;We want to raise money for a very distinctive granite monument…it will bear the names of all 85 men, black and white, who were killed in the service.

This is a significant project and it will be expensive…we are soliciting funds from all sources, including businesses, individuals, churches, clubs and so forth,&uot; notes Morton.

There are memorials in the city and county to honor the dead of other wars and a memorial in McKenzie is dedicated to all those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

But to date there has never been a memorial solely honoring the county’s heroes from WW II.

Morton believes it is high time to do so.

&uot;Our WW II veterans are slipping away from us…the youngest ones now are 70 years of age.

These men who died, each and every one has a story…I wish I knew all their stories,&uot; Morton notes.

There are the Thompsons of Forest Home, who lost two of their sons within a few short months of one another; tiny McKenzie High, which lost three of its former students…and many more tales of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. They are stories, Morton says, that reflect the strong streak of patriotism running through the veins of Butler County citizens.

&uot;Really, we should be known as the Volunteer State here…we have had a National Guard unit active in Greenville for many, many years and it was called into active service some 13 months before the U.S. entrance into the war,&uot; Morton explains.

Currently, he says, the State of Alabama has the highest number of guardsmen and women deployed overseas.

&uot;Our citizens have always loved, fought and sacrificed for this nation, this state and county, and we should be sure and remember and honor them for their deeds,&uot; Morton noted.

A list is available through Morton or Hardin of all 85 of the county’s World War II dead.

&uot;We want family members to contact us if they discover any misspellings, any names left off and so forth,&uot; Morton explains.

Those whose names will be inscribed on the monument including their rank, service and birthdate are as follows: George W. Acreman, S/Sgt., Army, Dec. 9, 1944; Robert W. Barrow, Lt., Army, Nov. 13, 1944; Ennis R. Bennett Jr., PFC, Army, Feb. 2, 1944, Bruce Black, S/Sgt. Army, April 20, 1945; Bob W. Blackburn, PFC, Army, May 1945; J.L. Boswell, Pvt., Army, Oct. 2, 1944; Ralph E. Branum, F1/C, Navy, April 5, 1945; Howard Burt, 1/Lt., Army, June 27, 1944;

Thomas J. Carpenter, S/Sgt., Air Corps, March 22, 1944; Jack C. Clackley, S/Sgt., Air Corps, Nov. 29, 1943; Holman A. Coates, EM/1C, Navy, April 1945; Oscar E. Cooper, Pvt., Army, Dec. 20, 1944; James Frank Daniel, Petty Officer, Navy, June 25, 1943; Jackson Davis, PFC, Army, March 31, 1945; Barnes Dunn, Pvt., Marines, Dec. 1942; Thomas H. Fail, 2/Lt., Air Corps, April 8, 1942; Charles A. Farris, Pvt., Army, March 22, 1945; Shelton B. Fletcher, PFC, Army, April 30, 1945; Earl W. Gardner, QM3/C, Navy, July 1944;

James Bryce Gomillion, PFC, Army, March 9, 1945; Joseph H. (Guy) Grant, Pvt., Army, Dec. 7, 1944; Tony Hale, Pvt., Army, unknown; Earnest Hall, Pvt., Army, unknown; George H. Hart, M/Sgt., Army, Dec. 21, 1944; Eddie L. Hawkins, Pvt., Army, unknown; James Floyd Heartsill, S/Sgt., Army, July 11, 1944; Aubrey Hendricks, PFC, Army, Aug. 27, 1944; J.T. Hitson, Pvt., Army, Dec. 25, 1944; Roy Hogg, Gun.Mate 1/C, Navy, unknown;

Aubie O. Hudson, Cpl., Army, Nov. 7, 1944; James Cook Huggins, Sgt., Army, July 7, 1944; Joseph H. Johnson, PFC, Army, June 25, 1944; James H. Jolley, S/Sgt., Air Corps, Nov. 19, 1944; John J. Jones, S/Sgt., Air Corps, June 7, 1943; Dorsey Jordan, Pvt., Marines, Sept. 26, 1926; Rufus A. Joyner, PFC, Army, July 9, 1943; Horace M. Kent, M/Sgt., Air Corps, April 12, 1942; Earl Voyd Lansdon, Pvt., Army, Aug. 1944;

Thurston M. Lipham, S2/C, Navy, Aug. 7, 1942; James C. Lowery, PFC, Army, July 16, 1943; James C. Lowery, PFC, Army, July 16, 1943; Joseph W. Matthews, PFC, Army, Unknown; Clinton Mixon, Pvt., Army, Dec. 7, 1944; William M. Mixon, Sgt., Army, Unknown; Buford Mixon, PFC, Army, Dec. 2, 1944; Joe Leonard Mixon, S1/C, Navy, May 1945; Jack Morgan, Cpl., Army, March 19, 1945;

John K. Morgan, Cpl., Army, Dec. 17, 1944; John W. Morgan, T/Sgt., Army, July 15, 1944; Reeford Mosley, Cpl., Army, Oct. 20, 1944; Leon Newton, Sgt., Airborne, Jan. 7, 1945; Robert H. Peterson, EM2/C, Navy, Oct. 24, 1944; Wilber R. Pierce, Pvt., Army, Oct. 16, 1943; Edward Piggott, S/C, Navy, Nov. 1944; Barnett Pitts, PFC, Army, Jan. 30, 1945; Charles Presley, S/Sgt., Air Corps, Oct. 8, 1943; Albert F. Presley, PFC, Army, Aug. 15, 1944; Albert H. Price, Capt., Army, July 3, 1942;

Jacob H. Queener, PFC, Army, Unknown; James Reeford reaves, SM3/C; Navy, June 21, 1945; Randolph S. Redd, Pvt., Army, Unknown; George T. Reese, S1/C, Navy, June 3, 1943; Claude Rowland, AOM/2C, Navy, Aug. 10, 1944; John Clayton Salter, Pvt., Air Corps, Oct. 31, 1943; Charles W. Sasser, PFC, Army, March 13, 1945; Cecil Ray Sawyer, PFC, Army, July 4, 1944; William D. Sellers, Lt., Air Corps, March 24, 1944;

Joseph E. Sellers, Sgt., Air Corps, May 23, 1944; Ben C. Shavers, Pvt., Army, Aug. 17, 1942; Wilbert D. Sheffield, PFC, Airborne, July 11, 1943; Richard Sims, Sgt., Army, Nov. 25, 1944; Henry Sizemore Jr., 2/Lt., Army, Unknown; Jamie Winton Spann, PFC, Army, April 20, 1945; Percy L. Spann, SM3/C, Navy, May 25, 1943; Richard E. Stacey, PFC, Army, July 20, 1943; Lewis C. (Pete) Steiner, Lt. Army, July 26, 1944;

Huston Stinson, Pvt., Army, June 3, 1942; L. Judson Thompson, Lt., Air Corps, Feb. 23, 1944; Rogers S. Thompson, T/Sgt., Air Corps, Oct. 10, 1943; Harold E. Walker, S/Sgt., Airborne, Dec. 28, 1944; Carter Wall, Lt., Army, June 9, 1944; Burley C. Wallace, PFC, Army, Aug. 8, 1944; Jesse Whittle, Sgt., Army, Sept. 17, 1944; D.W. Wiggins, PFC, Army, Feb. 1, 1944; Melvin Williams, Tech-5, Army, Aug. 14, 1943; Martin L. Young, Cpl., Army, Oct. 27, 1945.

Any individual or group interested in contributing to the WW II Memorial Fund are encouraged to contact Hardin, Morton or other Lions Club members.