Veteran American Legion Leader Reflects on Service

William “Bill” Harris has been a member of the American Legion for 72 years and during that period he has been commander of Cameron Post. No. 18 for 20 years.

The first time he was post commander was in 1969 and it so happened it was the 50th anniversary of the posts in West Virginia.

In March of this year, the American Legion in West Virginia will be observing its 100th anniversary and who is Post No. 18’s commander? None other than Bill Harris.

In all probability, Harris is only person to have been a post commander during both of these celebrations. In fact, while he was in Charleston attending the state Legion’s Veterans Council, of which is a member, he asked personnel in the state Legion’s office to check the names of post commanders in 1969.

Harris said he can’t wait for the 100th anniversary, adding that he purchased several medallions. He plans to keep one medallion and give others to post officers.

Ninety-four-year-old Harris joined the American Legion shortly after returning from World War II, where he served for three years in the U.S. Navy. He would serve 2 1/2 of those years aboard ships.

The retired rural mail carrier of 30 years has found time to have been the post commander of the Cameron American Legion for 20 years, but also served 20 years at the post’s adjutant.

He has been a state Legion vice commander, and four years ago he was named as an honorary past vice commander.

Information pertaining to Harris’ military profile was in first volume of the Marshall County “Patriots and Heroes” book published by Gary L. Rider.

In the book he states, “I joined the military to support the war effort (World War II) of this country. The U.S. had been attacked and it was the duty of young men and women to serve in the military.” He added that he joined the Navy at the age of 18 1/2.

Harris, who grew up in Glen Easton, apparently didn’t want any more to do with the outdoors, so he chose the Navy instead of the Army. He said, “I wanted place to sleep each night and get a good meal.”

He added, “I liked the sea and wasn’t afraid of water and I never regretted the opportunity.”

Harris said, “I wanted to be an aviation machinist’s mate and after filling out the questionnaire for that position, I thought I would be assigned to it, but instead I was assigned to destroyer escort duty.”

He would become a Sonar operator and recorder operator. His first assignment was in Escort Division 2, and this was where he would see his combat.

He receive a Battle Star for the American Theater, a Victory Medal for American Theater, and a Victory Medal for the Asiatic-Pacific Theater of War.

On patriotism, Bill states, “You love your country, period, and you do whatever is necessary to defend her.”

Harris is proud of his involvement with the American Legion, especially the fact that Post No. 18 is fifth in membership of 15 posts in District 1.

Harris to proud to be a member of Post’s No. 18 honor guard. He enjoys being a member of the honor guard for home football games and parades. He enjoys going to schools in the Cameron area to explain about the American Legion.

A few years ago, Post No. 18 constructed an annex building, and named it in honor of Harris.

The Marshall County Chamber of Commerce is seeking members to volunteer for special events to be held during 2019.

These include the Chamber’s annual dinner, the “Car Cruise-in Street Spectacular,” the Chamber-sponsored Christmas Parade, the Tree Gala, education, the annual golf tournament, the Home and Business Expo, and the “Calling All Ladies” event.

The annual dinner committee will focus on preparation for this event. Committee members will work to plan the evening’s location, decorations, menu and guest speaker, and to also obtain sponsors.

The car show committee will be in charge of every aspect of the show from prizes and sponsors to the car entries and music. The show is currently the second largest in the Ohio Valley.

The Christmas Parade committee organizes all stages of this event. Members work with city officials, gather donations and sponsorships and obtain parade participants.

The Christmas Tree Gala committee finds businesses, organizations and individuals to purchase and decorate Christmas trees and other Christmas decorations. Once completed, the committee places the trees on display and once the gala (auction) is over, the committee is responsible for wrapping up the trees for delivery to the buyers.

The mission of the Education Committee is to enhance the employability of Marshall County students for local and global employment by supporting the legislative school system, as well as the goals of the Chamber.

The golf tournament planning committee is in charge of executing the Chamber’s annual corporate golf tournament, which includes sponsors, prize money, give-a-way, event staff and the organizing of food.

The Home and Business Expo Committee will be organize a two-day exhibition of business and industries in Marshall County and the surrounding area. These businesses and industries rent space and show off their best on this spring weekend.

The “Calling All Ladies” event was instituted in 2013. The event hosts vendors and organizations featuring products and information with women in mind. The evening is also a catered event along with door prizes and raffles.

Moundsville native Dawn DeNoon is now writing for the political drama television show, “Designated Survivor.”

The show, starring Kiefer Sutherland, will be moving from ABC network to Netflix for its third season.

Sutherland is famous for his starring role on the hit TV series, “24.”

For those not familiar with the show: On the night of the State of the Union speech, an explosion destroys the United States Capitol building and claims the lives of the president and everyone in the line of succession except for the secretary of housing and urban development, who is unaware that the attack is just the beginning of what is to come. In the new season, “President Kirkman” will face a political reality — campaigning. What does it take to make a leader? What price will he be willing to pay? This season will explore today’s world of campaigning, smear tactics, debates, campaign finance and “fake news.”

The show has been in production in Toronto, Ontario for its 2019 launch.

During her professional writing career, DeNoon has written 55 scripts involving seven different television series including, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Blue Bloods” and “Blacklist.”

DeNoon, the daughter of Don and Polly DeNoon, is a graduate of John Marshall High School and West Virginia University.

The Marshall County Family Resource Network will hold its next general membership meeting at 11 a.m. on Jan. 8 in the meeting room at the Sleep Inn and Suites located at 8 Wal-Mart Drive in Moundsville.

The meeting is a way to share information and to learn about activities and programs going on in the community, with each participant having the opportunity to briefly discuss his or her organization.

Those attending are invited to bring their business card and any materials they would like to distribute to the group. Those planning to attend are asked to call 304-845-3300 or via e-mail at marshallcountyfrn@comcast.net.

The next family planning clinic at the Marshall County Health Department will be from 8:30-11 a.m. on Jan. 17. Those planning to attend are to call the health department at 304-845-7840 to make appointments.

Also, this month, the health department will conduct food handler card classes at both 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Jan. 29, at the health department, 513 Sixth St., in Moundsville.

On Mondays during the month of January there will be immunizations given from 9-11 a.m., and from 1-4 p.m., on Mondays.

The Vaccine for Children’s Program (VFC) will be held for children ages through 18 years of age.

There will be immunizations against pertussis (whooping cough), measles, mumps, rubella, varicella (chicken pox), diphtheria, tetanus, hepattis A & B, paneumococcal disease, and human papiloma virus (HPV).

COMMENTS