At its Christmas dinner Thursday evening, the Pocahontas County Chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America honored three local veterans for their service to their country during wartime and service to their communities when they returned home.
Those honored were World War II veterans Harold Crist and Sherman Beard, and Korean Conflict veteran Kenneth Faulknier.
Chapter president Norris Long recognized Crist, a mentor and fellow Navy veteran.
“[Harold] enlisted in the U.S. Navy January 27, 1943, after high school,” Long said. “After boot camp and basic training at Great Lakes, Illinois, he was deployed to the Southwest Pacific, January 21, 1944. He served with Patrol Torpedo Boat Base, Squadron 21 operating near New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. He remained at this station as a Signalman Petty Officer Second Class until he returned to the U.S. on October 27, 1945.”
When he was discharged in 1946, Crist received the Good Conduct Medal, American Theater Ribbon, Victory Medal and Pacific Ribbon.
Crist and Betty Ruth Conrad were married in 1948. The couple has six children – two boys and four girls.
“Betty Ruth says it was the uniform that caught her eye,” Long said, laughing.
Crist received a degree from West Virginia University and taught at Green Bank High School and Pocahontas County High School. He is an active member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion and Pocahontas County Veterans Honor Corps.
Crist thanked the organization for the recognition.
Joe Smith recognized Korean Conflict era veteran Kenneth Faulknier.
“He attended school in Marlinton and is an active member of the Marlinton United Methodist Church,” Smith said. “He was drafted into the Army and served in Germany and France. He received his discharge on April 5, 1954.”
Faulknier has four children and has served his community as a member of the Marlinton Fire Department and Marlinton Town Council.
“I think he has retired about three times,” Smith said, laughing.
Faulknier is also active in local veteran organizations and is an integral part of the upkeep of the Mountain View Cemetery in Marlinton.
“The Mountain View Cemetery holds a special place in his life,” Smith said. “He is responsible for the flags at the cemetery and considers it an honor to see that they are raised and lowered on the appropriate days. For this reason and because of your service to our country, we honor you today.”
After accepting his award, Faulknier said Mountain View is the largest cemetery, per capita, for veterans in the state of West Virginia. There are nearly 600 veterans in the cemetery and the caretakers and Faulknier make sure each veteran who has a grave maker has an American flag.
Tom VanReenan recognized Sherman Beard, who was unable to attend the dinner.
“Sherman was drafted into the Armed Forces on December 1, 1942, and was discharged from the 756th Bomb Squadron on November 16, 1945,” VanReenan said. “He was stationed with the 15th Army Air Force in Italy and piloted a B-24 Liberator. Among his military recognitions are the Distinguished Flying Cross and the WWII Victory Medal.”
Beard returned to the family farm where he and his wife, Mary Alice [Young], raised three children.
“Sherman has always been a strong supporter of veteran’s issues and is considered by many who know him to be a true ‘American hero,’” VanReenan added.
Each honoree received a certificate of appreciation, a porch flag and a Challenge coin with their rank engraved on the back.
Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org