“When a Taylor County veteran dies, he or she is laid to rest with the dignity a soldier deserves, thanks to a dedicated band of men–the color guard of VFW Post 3081,” writes Cathy Meo Bonnstetter in her article, “‘You Never Forget’: Taylor County’s Color Guard” in the current issue of GOLDENSEAL magazine.
Bonnstetter’s interview with members of the Taylor County color guard shows the spirit of courage the 30 members of this group demonstrated during their military service. Derald Poling, a Navy veteran, received the Purple Heart. Norman Deakins, a Marine veteran, wears braces because both legs were crushed by a large oil drum. Mitchell Opas served in the China-Burma-India theatre as a medic with Merrill’s Marauders.
The same spirit of dedication leads these men to volunteer their time and services at funerals for honorably discharged veterans of Taylor County. “I do this because of the buddies I lost,” says C.E. “Shakey” Paugh. “You never forget.” The color guard has performed more than 1,500 rites and traveled over 250,000 miles since its formation in 1987.
The fall issue of GOLDENSEAL, due out December 5, also includes articles about the USS West Virginia, life on Duck Run in Gilmer County, memories of Yellow Spring in Hampshire County, Spaniards who moved to southern West Virginia to work in the coal mines, and the Air-Ola Radio Company of Huntington.
GOLDENSEAL is West Virginia’s magazine of traditional life and is a quarterly publication of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History. It is available for $4.95 from Grafton Foodland, Clarksburg Peoples News, Clarksburg Kroger, Clarksburg Rosebud Foodland, Bridgeport Foodland, or by calling (304)558-0220, extension 153.