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VVA honors WWII vets, outstanding member

Joe Smith, right, presented the Member of the Year Award to Norris Long at the annual Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1100 Christmas Dinner. S. Stewart photo
Joe Smith, right, presented the Member of the Year Award to Norris Long at the annual Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1100 Christmas Dinner. S. Stewart photo

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

The Pocahontas County Vietnam Veterans of American Chapter 1100 held is annual Christmas dinner Friday at McClintic Library in Marlinton.

The chapter honored the county’s World War II veterans, as well as one of its own with the Member of the Year Award.
Chapter founder Norris Long shared the organization’s gratitude to the World War II veterans who will forever be remembered as “The Greatest Generation.”

“We are honoring those military personnel who served during World War II,” Long said. “From North Africa, Italy, France and Germany, to many unheard of places in the South Pacific such as Pearl Harbor, Wake Island, Iwo Jim and Okinawa. The men and women of this era came of age in the Great Depression, when economic despair hovered over the land like a plague.

“Those who answered the call to combat the evils that threatened the world were true heroes,” he continued. “They were our parents, our aunts and uncles, and to some, our older brothers. Certainly none of us is a fan of war, but who will take the place of these heroes? Who will remember their sacrifices? Who will tell their stories? Who will celebrate their lives?”

Green Bank resident Herman Butcher, who served in the Army Air Force attended the dinner and was recognized for his service. Long also recognized Harold Crist and Dick Hiner, who were unable to attend.

Chapter member Joe Smith presented the Member of the Year Award to Norris Long.

“I’ve known this guy for forty-five years,” Smith said. “We did not grow up together. He did not come from Marlinton. He’s an outsider – from Cass. He does a lot for the community, and he has done a lot for this club, this organization. If it wasn’t for him, we probably wouldn’t have this organization to begin with.”

Long, surprised by the award, thanked the membership and said he was honored to have founded the Pocahontas County chapter.

“I will tell you the purpose of me organizing this chapter,” he said. “I came from the White Sulphur Springs Chapter. They didn’t really know where Pocahontas County was. I kept letting them know. Pocahontas County, along with Webster County, had the highest per capita casualty rate in Vietnam. That is why I wanted this chapter to be here. We honor them.”

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