Local World War II veteran honored

We have celebrated another Veterans Day!

This year I and American Legion Post 41 in Houston honored a local World War II veteran: Barbara Curtis. She served in the U.S. Coast Guard from 1944 to 1946 as a radioman third class.

A group of about twodozen people and organizations worked to make a special plaque for Ms. Curtis. Various amateur radio operators, the Ozark Mountain Amateur Radio Club, the Fleet Reserve Association, the American Legion Post 41, Gary Parish of Pop’s Trophy in Houston, Robert Simpson and Jerry Wildhaber donated time, parts, money, materials and skills.

The plaque is a working code practice oscillator similar to what young aspiring radio and code operators at the time would have used to learn Morse Code, either for military service or civilian service such as Western Union before and after the war.

After hostilities ceased, Ms. Curtis worked for Phillips Chemicals as a telegraph operator until telephones became commonplace and telegraphs were edged out of daily service.

A couple of hours after the presentation, toying with the practice oscillator, Ms. Curtis was remembering long in used code. This is encouraging has Ms. Curtis suffers from stabilized dementia. We pray and hope that she continues to do better.

It is the mission of the Legion to seek out, honor and assist our veterans of all military branches, along with supporting our community.

The Legion has its weekly business meeting every Wednesday from about 9 to 11 a.m. Coffee and pastries are available. Members and anyone else are welcome to stop in.

In more recent news, online shopping at the BX/PX is available to veterans. Education benefits are available early to those who qualify. More information is available at the Legion Hall (next to Pizza Hut on South Sam Houston Blvd.).

Over the next couple of months we are having another raffle, this one for a primitive black iron cook set including the tripod, hooks, Dutch oven, skillet, and coffee boiler (the last three pieces were provided by Debo’s in downtown Houston). Tickets are a dollar each or six for $5. The lucky winner will be set for camping or power outages!

Our monthly meetings are the second Thursday starting at 5:30 p.m. and lasting however long is needed. Also, the Fleet Reserve meets at the Legion Hall at 2:30 p.m. every fourth Sunday. We enjoy seeing new faces, so stop in and visit!

Houston resident Keith Ford is a retired infantryman and an amateur writer whose work has appeared in publications around the world. Email kf4tap@yahoo.com.

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