Veterans to be honored in Hall

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The Gadsden-Etowah Patriots Association (GEPA) is holding a luncheon Wednesday, Nov. 5 to induct 11 veterans into the 2014 Patriots Hall of Honor.

The event takes place at Convention Hall from 11:45 a.m. until 1 p.m. Doors open at 11 a.m. 

Sponsors include The City of Gadsden, Greater Gadsden Area Tourism Board and the Etowah County Commission. 

Tickets are $10 a person and can be bought Monday, Wednesday or Friday from 10 a.m. until noon at the GEPA office located at the Amphitheatre. Tickets may also be purchased at the door. 

World War II veterans include William Aaron (Ed) Lewis, Edward H. Thompson, Lamar F. Chastain, James Marion Penny, Sr. and Alfred (A.C.) Boyd. 

Lewis served in the U.S. Air Force from 1944-1946. He trained as a gunner for the B-17 plane and then the B-29 plane. After the atomic bombs were dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, his crew disbanded. After his discharge he received a degree in Industrial Management from the University of Alabama. He married Jean Richards in 1949 and had two daughters, and lived in Texas and worked as an Insurance adjuster. He retired in 1985 and moved back to Gadsden where he became involved in numerous civic organizations. In 1995, he enlisted in the U.S. Amy Reserve Corps. He has received the World War II Victory Medal 233rd Army Air Force Base Unit, a Certificate of Military Service and the ATO MED: Good Conduct Medal.

Thompson joined the Army Air Corps at 17 in 1943 and went into active duty in 1944. He was trained to be a tail gunner in a B-29 plane. After he was honorably discharged, he got his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Alabama. Thompson went on to medical school and graduated in 1953 with honors. He went into private practice in Gadsden. Thompson received the Good Conduct Medal and the Pacific Theater of Operations Medal for his service.

At 18, Chastain was drafted into the U.S. Army. He completed basic and combat training, and was then sent to North Africa on a troop transport ship. German U-boats attacked Chastain’s convoy, but his ship carried on to reach the destination. After the end of the war Chastain returned to Gadsden and worked at the Dwight Cotton Mill and then the Steel Plant. At the Cotton Mill, he met his future wife Rosie. They had two children and were married for 58 years. He has been active as a leader in his workplace and community. Chastain has shared his experiences of the Great Depression and World War II with high school classes.

Penny enlisted in the U.S. Navy at 17 in 1944. His boat group assisted in the invasion of Okinawa by carrying Marines to the beach and shooting down enemy planes. At one point during the attack, a torpedo missed his ship by 12 yards. He has been an active member of the Glencoe community, dedicating his time to local ministry and veteran’s support groups. He received the American Campaign Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal 1 Star, WWII Victory Medal and the Navy Occupation Medal with an Asia clasp.

Boyd entered the U.S. Army after his graduation from Emma Samson High. He was 18. After training, he was sent to Europe where his division’s was meant to continue the work started with the D-Day Invasion of Normandy. He was also involved in the liberation of the concentration camps in Germany and saw numerous horrors. He worked at LTV Steel for 47 years before he retired. He was a volunteer for several organizations, including MANNA and The Way of the Cross. He was discharged at the end of 1945. He received the Bronze Star along with other medals. 

Other inductees being honored include Marvin (Sarge) Leslie Fisher, Richard Neil Cox and Stephen (Steve) Andrew Scharfenberg. 

Fisher joined the U.S. Army in 1947. He traveled with the army to Korea, the Arctic Circle, Japan, Germany and Vietnam. Fisher served for 23 years. After his retirement from the military, he owned numerous businesses in the community including Fisher Industrial Service, Inc., which has won several awards. During Hurricane Andrew and Katrina, Fisher and his son brought food, water and other supplies to the affected areas. Fisher received many awards during his military service including the Silver Star, the Bronze Star the United Nations Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal and many more.

Cox served in the U.S. Navy. He had approximately 3,000 hours of flight time. He married his wife Kay Traffensted  in 1958. They have two children and three grandchildren. He has been employed by Clark Memorials for 50 years and serves as Vice President of the Gadsden office. As a part of his job, he has secured and installed over 2,500 markers for veterans. He has also assisted over 12,000 families. 

Scharfenberg served in the U.S. Navy from 1961-1965. He has served many volunteer organizations, especially with Habitat for Humanity, where he has served on the board of directors for 17 years. He has also participated in many civic organizations including the Gadsden Rotary Club and United Way. He has received the Naval Expeditionary Medal and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for his service in the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam.

Posthumous inductees being honored include William (Mike) McCoy Wadsworth, Fred Vaughan and Howard Warren.

Wadsworth enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1944. He decided to pursue a military career and applied to the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. He entered the Academy in 1945 and graduated in 1949. He also married his longtime sweetheart Bette McCorkle that year. He decided to join the Korean War after South Korea’s invasion. In Nov. of 1950, he was wounded by enemy mortar barrage that cut off his unit from the platoon. Despite his wounds, he evacuated other wounded soldiers. For his heroism, Wadsworth received the Bronze Star. Later that year, his unit was attacked again and Wadsworth again evacuated others. Suffering additional wounds, he was evacuated and died Dec. 3 1950 in a hospital in Japan.

Vaughan served as First Lieutenant in the Alabama State Guard when Alabama converted to the National Guard. He was called to active duty during the Korean War, but was deemed ineligible to be sent to a combat zone because he had 4 dependents. He worked at Goodyear starting on his 21st birthday. He worked for them for over 44 years. He  volunteered in the community. He worked with United Way, the Boy Scouts, the food bank and was involved with many Masonic organizations. He was married to Nikki Dodd and they had 3 children. He lived in Gadsden and Hokes Bluff for the 93 years of his life.

Warren enlisted in the U.S. Army after his graduation from the University of North Carolina. He served from 1968 to 1971. His service included a tour in Vietnam. After his honorable discharge, he attended the University of Alabama School of Law and graduated in 1974. He then returned to Gadsden, where he grew up, and practiced law for 39 years. He also served as a City Judge in Gadsden. He  served the community with his work for civic clubs and charity organizations, including the YMCA and the Gadsden Museum of Art. He is survived by his wife of 44 years Kathleen, his children and grandchildren.

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