It was chilly Monday morning when volunteers gathered at the Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity build sites in Durbin. Volunteers and Veterans were on hand for a special program as well as a partial demolition of the town’s VFW hall.
Pocahontas County Pre- servation Officer B.J. Gudmundsson had the World War II Exhibit on display and explained the importance of preserving the county’s history as captured in photographs and historic documents.
“As I’ve been going through and collecting photographs and digitizing, the one thing I’ve come across constantly are photographs of people who have served in the military,” she said. “I started running across all of these photographs of men – they would go to the courthouse either to enlist or for the call when they had been drafted – and always, they’d bring a photographer in and they’d line these guys up in front of the courthouse to take their picture. Then they were off to war.”
While the photographs were a documentation of the soldiers, Gudmundsson said the names were not included.
“The curious thing about it was, we started discovering photographs and there were no names attached to any of them,” she said. “There are records of the enlistment, but no identification.”
The photographs in the display include 1,500 soldiers, 100 of which have been identified. The photos have been in display at Sharp’s Country Store in Slaty Fork this summer and fall. Gudmundsson said she will move the display this winter to the Preserving Pocahontas office next to the former French’s Diner in Marlinton.
Habitat Family Support Specialist Danielle Findley and AmeriCorps Aaron Pugh read letters from senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin in honor of the Veterans in Pocahontas County. Findley also recognized the veterans in attendance – Gene Varner, Gary Reynolds and Charles Sheets.
Steve Fierbaugh, Donnie Waybright and Rick Wooddell, Pocahontas County Veterans Honor Corps members presented the American flag as the crowd sang the “Star Spangled Banner.”
Findley and Habitat homeowner Ray Hendrick announced that the next Habitat house build will be for Brian Pugh and his family.
Walmart in Elkins donated refreshments for the event.
Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org