WWI Snapshot: John Stevenson Moses 1899-1924

Several years after WWI, John Stevenson Moses was killed by gas leaking from a fixture at his residence.

NC WWI Service Card
John Stevenson Moses was born on September 29, 1899, in Morganton, NC.

On January 17, 1918, when John was 18, he enlisted at Fort Caswell. He served until December 24, 1918.

At age 25, John was killed in a tragic accident. A leaky gas fixture in his rooming house caused his death. The following accounts were published in The Washington Post.

Leaky Gas Fixtures Criticized by Coroner
Leaky gas fixtures in hotels and lodging houses, said to have caused the death of John Moses, 35 [25] years old, of Morgantown N.C., yesterday, will probably be condemned at the inquest to be held tomorrow morning, Coroner Nevitt said yesterday.

The defective gas fixture has been removed by police and will be produced as evidence at the inquest. Dr. Nevitt criticized hotel proprietors who risk the lives of their guests. The law requires gas jets to be of a safe pattern, but Coroner Nevitt wants additional law to have them regularly inspected.
Source: The Washington Post, 15 Dec 1924, p2.

More Gas-Fixture Inspectors Urged
Recommendation of the coroner’s jury that all gas fixtures in rooming houses be regularly inspected by the District may result in a request for additional inspectors, District officials said yesterday. The jury’s recommendation was made as a result of the accidental death from illuminating gas of John Moses, of Morgantown, N.C., in a room at 207 Pennsylvania avenue northwest. The gas fixture in the room was defective, although Carl Smith, the dead man’s roommate, testified the gas had been blown out.

Inspection of gas fixtures is made now, Plumbing Inspector McGonegal said yesterday.
Source: The Washington Post, 18 Dec 1924, p24.

John Stevenson Moses’ death likely saved many lives. His gravesite has not been located.


To view this or an earlier profile or snapshot at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.

If you would like to help us honor John Stevenson Moses or another Brunswick County WWI veteran, please use the following links:

Click here for the announcement:
Announcement: Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran
Click here for directions to donate and honor a veteran:
How to Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran

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Veterans Day 2019: Continuing to Honor Those Who Served

The family of WWI Veteran and POW Pvt Robert Bollie Stanley was honored at the event.

Approximately 60 people attended the Veterans Day WWI Commemoration on a warm and sunny Monday morning on November 11, 2019.

At 11:00am, the time the Armistice went into effect 101 years ago, Norma Eckard, president of Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range began the program.

This year, the special guests were the family of WWI Brunswick County veteran and only POW, Pvt Robert Bollie Stanley.

Two grandchildren of Pvt Stanley (Fred Stanley and Deborah Bolin) began the continuation of the Roll Call for Brunswick County WWI veterans. Descendants who participated in previous commemorations returned: Gwen Clemmons Causey (granddaughter of Sgt Henry Lindon Clemmons) and David Lewis (grandson of Lt David Elton Lewis). Two were unable to attend, but are listed below.

For several years, descendants have attended the ceremonies held at the Fort Caswell Rifle Range. Their presence adds meaning to the Roll Calls. We have been honored to have the following special guests attend past commemorations:

Many descendants of WWI veterans from locations other than Brunswick County have also participated and attended past commemorations. Many have submitted photos for the WWI Wall of Honor.

If your name is not listed here, we apologize and ask that you please contact us. If any descendants wish to participate or attend future commemorative events, it would be an honor to include you.

The program and script is available here for display or download: 2019 Veterans Day Ceremony Transcript (updated Nov. 14, 2019)

Thank you for those who attended and the marvelous supporters and donors!

The State Port Pilot published a story about the ceremony. It can be downloaded here. It is also available on the News section of the website.

Photos courtesy of Phyllis Wilson. Thank you!

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Veterans Day 2019

“Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them” – George Eliot

The program for today’s Roll Call will be posted soon.

WWI Snapshots will continue next week.

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Invitation to the 2019 Veterans Day Roll Call on November 11

On Monday, November 11th, Veterans Day, at 11:00 am, the Roll Call continues for the 724 men and one woman nurse who served in WWI from Brunswick County. It will once again be held beside the 1918 Rifle Range Memorial at Caswell Beach.

The event is sponsored jointly by the Brunswick Town Chapter NSDAR and the Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range. The Southport Historical Society Firing Crew will fire Thor in commemoration of the veterans’ service. Gwen Causey, locally known for her historic focus and knowledge of Brunswick County will speak: “Brunswick County, 1900-1921.”

The public is welcome. Please bring a folding chair. For safety, be sure to park in condo parking lots and not on the roadside.

Photo courtesy of Christine Urick; April 2019 Roll Call

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WWI Snapshot: Alonzo Lee Murrell 1894-1955

Alonzo Lee Murrell’s son was a World War II Prisoner of War.

NC WWI Service Card
Alonzo Lee Murrell was born on June 20, 1894, in Brunswick County, NC.

While living in Navassa, he was called to duty and inducted into the US Army in Southport on April 2, 1918. PFC Murrell served in the Medical Department, serving overseas from October 13, 1918 until June 10, 1919. He was honorably discharged on June 27, 1919.

Alonzo married Emma E. Allen in Wilmington on April 11, 1921. A son, Jack Allen, was born in Wilmington. In 1925 they relocated to the Cumberland, MD, area, where a daughter was born.

His son, Jack Allen Murrell, served in WWII and was reported missing for six months, from September 18, 1944 until March 16, 1945. Records indicate he was a POW. The following article describes his experience.

Lt. Jack Murrell Reported To Be Safe in England
Lt. Jack Allen Murrell, pilot of a C-47 transport plane is, “free and back in England,” according to a cablegram he sent his wife, Mrs. Mary Weakley Murrell, 42 Potomac Street, Ridgeley, yesterday. He was reported missing in Groesbeek, Holland September 18, the day his baby daughter was one month old.

Serving overseas since February 14, 1944, Lt. Murrell for seven months flew a regular run from England to France carrying paratroopers. At the time he was reported missing he was towing gliders over Holland.

The last word Mrs. Murrell had from her husband was October 3; recently she received a small note, she said, from an English paratrooper, stating that he hoped her husband would reach his base some day soon; on March 15 she received a letter from an English pilot who wrote he had been with Lt. Murrell eight weeks having left him on February 10, when the English pilot made his way back to England. In concluding, he wrote, “Lt. Murrell should be following any moment now.” Mrs. Murrell said she had reason to believe her husband and the English pilot were assisted by the underground in their escape of the Nazis and their return to England.

The son of Mr. and Mrs. A.L. Murrell, Ridgeley, Lt. Murrell entered the service April 25, 1941, and was commissioned and received his wings at Columbus, Miss., leaving from Fort Benning, Ga., in February 1944, for England. He was awarded the Air Medal for his part in the D-day invasion.
Source: Cumberland News (Cumberland, MD), 17 March 1945, p14.

Alonzo Lee Murrell passed away suddenly at work on March 18, 1955, at age 60. He was laid to rest in Oakdale Cemetery in Wilmington, NC. The following obituary was published.

Alonzo L. Murrell, 60, of Ridgeley, pipefitter for the Western Railway Company at Maryland Junction, died suddenly yesterday afternoon while at work.

A native of Wilmington, N.C., he was a son of the late John and Julia Murrell and had resided in Ridgeley for the past 30 years.

A veteran of World War I, Mr. Murrell was a member of the First Presbyterian Church here. Surviving are his wife, Mrs. Emma Murrell; a daughter, Miss Faye Murrell, Wilmington, a son, Jack A. Murrell, city; and a granddaughter, Mary Elizabeth Murrell, city; two sisters and two brothers, Leland, N.C.

The body is at the Kight Funeral Home where a service will be conducted today at 7:30 p.m. with Rev. W. Randolph Keefe Jr., pastor of Grace Baptist Church, officiating.

Tomorrow the body will be taken to Wilmington for burial in the Oakdale Cemetery. The family requests that flowers be omitted.
Source: Cumberland News (Cumberland, MD), 19 March 1955, p6.


To view this or an earlier profile or snapshot at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.

If you would like to help us honor Alonzo Lee Murrell or another Brunswick County WWI veteran, please use the following links:

Click here for the announcement:
Announcement: Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran
Click here for directions to donate and honor a veteran:
How to Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran

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WWI Snapshot: Doctor Pearson Murphy 1894-1967

Doctor Pearson Murphy’s son gained fame as one of the founders of the Black Voters League in Red Bank, NJ. His daughter-in-law was also a leader in the community. In addition, his son served in WWII.

NC WWI Service Card
Doctor Pearson Murphy was a resident of Bolivia, Brunswick County, when he was called to duty in WWI. He had recently married Maggie Galloway on May 20, 1918. The photo below was found in Ancestry.

Corporal Murphy served from August 2, 1918 until December 19, 1918, in the 349th Labor Battalion.

After the war, he returned home to Brunswick County. At least two sons were born there. The family eventually moved to Kings, New York City.

His son, Curtis, achieved fame as one of the founders of the Black Voters League of Red Bank, NJ, among other accomplishments. Curtis’ wife, Ernestine Elois Norris Murphy, was also a community leader. Their obituaries are shown below. Burial information and the obituaries were copied into findagrave: Curtis and Ernestine.

Doctor Pearson Murphy passed away on January 4, 1967. He was buried in Long Island National Cemetery, presumably with military honors. No photo of his grave site is available.

Source: Asbury Park Press (Asbury, NJ), 11 July 1995, p16.
Curtis Murphy, led Black Voters League

Curtis Q. Murphy, 75, a resident here and former Red Back resident, died Saturday at Riverview Medical Center, Red Bank. Mr. Murphy was a senior electronics engineer at Fort Monmouth until his retirement, and he was an Army veteran of World War II. He was a graduate of Stuyvesant High School, Brooklyn, and received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from City College of New York, and his master’s degree in electrical engineering from Rutger’s University.

Mr. Murphy was one of several founders of the Black Voters League, Red Bank. The league’s goals were to acquaint local politicians with the needs of the black community and to elect favorable candidates, he said in a 1983 interview in Asbury Park Press. The league conducts door-to-door voter registration campaigns and uses the churches as forums for voter education, he said.

Mr. Murphy was a member of the Red Bank Board of Education for 14 years, the Red Bank Parks and Recreation Commission, the Greater Red Bank National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Tinton Falls Board of Adjustment, the Eatontown Parents Teachers Association, and the Bates Lodge 220 of the Improved Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of the World. Mr. Murphy was born in Bolivia, N.C., lived in Red Bank for more than 30 years, and came to Tinton Falls in 1979.

Surviving are his wife of 54 years, Ernestine; two daughters, Rita Johnson, New York, and Marsha Longino, Ohio; and three grandsons. Childs Funeral Home, Red Bank, is in charge of arrangements.

Source: Asbury Park Press (Asbury, NJ), 19 April 2007, p22.
Ernestine Elois Norris Murphy,

of Tinton Falls, died Friday, April 13. She was the daughter of Eva and Riddick Norris and grew up and attended school in Brooklyn, N.Y. Ernestine was married to Curtis Q. Murphy. To this union, two daughters were born. In the 1950s, Ernestine moved to Eatontown and later to Red Bank. At an early age, Ernestine was baptized at the Brown Memorial Baptist Church in Brooklyn, N.Y. When she moved to New Jersey, she became a Watch Care member of the Shrewsbury Avenue A.M.E. Zion Church under the ministry of the Rev. Charles Bourne. She sang with the A.M.E. Choir and served as a Girl Scout leader, sponsored by the church. Ernestine helped to organize and served with the Asbury Park Cotillion for many years. She worked as a volunteer librarian on a book mobile that served migrant workers. Dr. King, Superintendent of the Red Bank School System, appointed her as a social worker for the Red Bank schools. Ernestine also served as a Head Start assistant in the Red Bank school, a nurse’s aide at the Red Bank Convalescent Nursing Home, and was a member of the PTA and the Greater Red Bank NAACP.

She is survived by her two daughters, Rita and Marsha; her brother, William Norris; three grandchildren, Julian, John, and Quentin; a great-grandchild, Erin; and a host of relatives and friends.

Her viewing will be from 10 a.m. Saturday until her service at noon at Shrewsbury A.M.E. Zion Church, 285 Shrewsbury Ave., Red Bank. Interment will be at Monmouth Memorial Park, Tinton Falls. Childs Funeral Home, Red Bank, is in charge of arrangements.


To view this or an earlier profile or snapshot at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.

If you would like to help us honor Doctor Pearson Murphy or another Brunswick County WWI veteran, please use the following links:

Click here for the announcement:
Announcement: Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran
Click here for directions to donate and honor a veteran:
How to Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran

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WWI Snapshot: Jackson Brown 1890-1940

Jackson Brown’s WWI service resulted in 100% disability. He and his wife never had children, leaving no direct descendants to ensure that his sacrifice is not forgotten.

NC WWI Service Card
Jackson Brown was born in Town Creek, Brunswick County, NC, on July 23, 1890.

Jackson was called to duty on July 15, 1918. He served in the 12th Labor Battalion, serving overseas from August 27, 1918, until March 12, 1919.

When he returned home, he was suffering from empyema: infected fluid between the lung and chest wall.

[Source: Ancestry.com. U.S., Army Transport Service, Passenger Lists, 1910-1939 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016.]

Pvt Brown was not discharged until July 28, 1920, which shows he required an incredibly long period of medical care by the US Army. He was designated 100% disabled, which indicates the Army considered his disability a result of his service.

It’s possible that he was exposed to poisonous gas, which can result in many issues as detailed in a previous profile, and could be responsible for the kidney failure which eventually caused his death. Gas exposure has also been blamed for sterility, contributing to the many WWI veterans who could have no children and thus, had no surviving generations to ensure their lives and sacrifices are not forgotten.

On May 6, 1940, Jackson died as a result of chronic nephritis.

His wife applied for a military headstone, which was installed at Saint James AME Zion Church Cemetery in Leland. She died the following year.

Source of headstone photo: Findagrave


To view this or an earlier profile or snapshot at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.

If you would like to help us honor Jackson Brown or another Brunswick County WWI veteran, please use the following links:

Click here for the announcement:
Announcement: Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran
Click here for directions to donate and honor a veteran:
How to Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran

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WWI Snapshot: Samuel Benjamin “Bunn” Frink 1899-1989

Samuel Benjamin “Bunn” Frink attempted to serve in WWI while underage and was honorably discharged. He later became a lawyer and was known as “The Perry Mason of Brunswick County.” Throughout his life he served his country by holding many political offices and positions, as well as serving in WWII.

NC WWI Service Card
Samuel Benjamin “Bunn” Frink was born on October 2, 1899, in Shallotte, Brunswick County, NC.

On May 1, 1917, Bunn enlisted in the US Navy in Wilmington, NC. He served for over a month until June 15, 1917, when he was declared underage and honorably discharged.

Records show another Brunswick County WWI veteran, John Newton of Bessemer City, NC, attempted to enlist at Fort Caswell and was discovered to be underage. This notation was found on Pvt Newton’s NC WWI Service Card:

“Under the provisions of the Act of Congress, approved March 2, 1929, (Public #950 – 70th Congress) in the administration of any laws conferring rights, privileges, or benefits, upon honorably discharged soldiers, their widows and dependent children, the above named soldier shall hereafter be held and considered to have been honorably discharged”

Photo source: The State Port Pilot (Southport, NC), 8 May 1935, p. 1.

Bunn was a family friend of Kathryn Kalmanson, daughter of Susie Carson, the late historian and founder of the Southport Historical Society. Susie Carson was also employed at one time by Bunn’s law firm. Kathryn shared the following memories of Bunn:

“Samuel Benjamin Frink was always known as Bunn. His legal signature and name on the letterhead of his law office was “S. Bunn Frink.” No one will recognize him by his real name. But mention the name Bunn Frink in Brunswick County and you’ll get lots of responses even now. He really had a big impact on the county in many ways. He was a man of integrity, and always a gentleman. Please check my info on this, but I believe he did not actually serve in WWI. He said, if I remember correctly, that he lied about his age in order to enlist and was caught before he went overseas. By the time he turned 18, the war had ended. He did serve in WWII, but I think it was in Coast Guard because he was too old for regular enlistment.

“Mr. Frink was an interesting person. Through his work as a lawyer with some newsworthy cases, he became known as “The Perry Mason of Brunswick County.” He was once written up in some lurid but popular crime magazine, True Detective or something like that. He also served many years in the NC State Senate. He had a son and a daughter, both long gone, and no other surviving family that I’ve ever heard of.”

Kathryn shared the following photos.

Bunn lived over 89 years. His accomplishments are displayed at his gravesite, as shown.

Source of headstone photo: Findagrave


To view this or an earlier profile or snapshot at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.

If you would like to help us honor Samuel Benjamin “Bunn” Frink or another Brunswick County WWI veteran, please use the following links:

Click here for the announcement:
Announcement: Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran
Click here for directions to donate and honor a veteran:
How to Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran

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An interview with Back Porch Rockers, performing at Oktoberfest in Caswell Beach this Saturday

Reminder:
Oktoberfest in Caswell Beach is this Saturday, October 12, 2019

Call 910-278-7584 for tickets.

Note that overflow parking is available up the street at the BB&T Bank. It is a short walk to the Oktoberfest held at the Fire Station.

When did the band decide to entertain FREE for non profit events?
When we formed the band in 2016, we decided that we would perform only for legitimate non-profits and charities. We do perform for private parties, but we have a requirement for them to raise a minimum of $1000 for a charity of their choice. This has never been a problem. Several private parties we have done have exceeded over $3,000. We are all retired and this is one of the ways we donate back to the community we live in.

How many years have you been doing this for non profits?
As stated above since the inception of our band in April of 2016.

Approximately how much has the band earned for non profits?
Well, there are bands that track this info, but we do not. A couple of reasons, first, it is not that important to know how much we help raise, it is far more important to us, that we are able to help. We don’t actually raise any money, we just provide the entertainment, and as you know there are many others involved who assist in organizing fund raisers. We did track this dollar information in our first year or so and if I had to guess, we have helped raise approximately $200K over the past few years.

How many events have you done in 2019?
We are scheduled to perform for 18 events in this calendar year. We have done 13 to date.

What about the funds you need to continue?  Instruments, gas, etc.
All expenses are absorbed by the band members, it is our way of helping the cause.

Give us some info on the members of the band.  Their love of music,
playing for audiences, etc.  Tell us about your band.

Steve Privott, our lead guitarist, is from Virginia and has been playing since he was 13 years old. He played and recorded professionally in the 60’s and has shared the stage with performers including The Yardbirds, The Loving Spoonful and Neil Diamond.

Kurt Chismark, performs vocals and percussion for our band, has an extensive background in music including a Music & Recording Industry Certification from San Francisco State University.

Martin Murphy, our bass player, also performs vocals and 6 string guitar and our music arrangements. Martin began playing guitar in high school and played in a popular Cleveland, Ohio band that opened for both national and international touring acts before retiring from the music business. Taking up music again in the 80’s, Martin began played electric bass for a 10-piece R&B group then for an acoustic guitar act. After another prolonged absence from music, he retired to the Southport area in 2015 and began playing again.

Dave Testa is our drummer and provides back-up vocals. Dave had an early interest in music inherited from a singing mother. This inclination was reinforced by an older brother who played drums in a high school rock and roll band. Dave’s earliest bands were in High School, with one locally successful soul band just before college. He then retired from playing for about 30 years and then a revival as his wife encouraged him to get back into music. He has played for several groups here in the area before bringing his talents to our band.

Jim Irvine, guitar, began playing music in 5th grade by taking piano lessons. He switched to playing Trumpet in 6th through 8th grade taking lessons and playing in the school band. When the “British Invasion” hit America Jim took up playing a 12 String Guitar. Jim left music when he was in his early 20’s and got a real job. Around 2010, with the encouragement of his wife got back into music and started taking lessons again, where he met several other students that eventually formed the band.

Linda Harlow, guitar and vocals, began her musical venture by playing her older sister’s accordian and then her younger sister’s guitar. She played with several small groups in college but gave it up when she started her professional work career as a French professor. After moving to Southport in 2010 she began taking guitar lessons and eventually helped form our band.

Randy Lewis, guitar and vocals began his journey into music very late in life. Growing up, he never showed any interest in music although his parents and siblings were very involved in music. After retiring a dear friend of his sent him a nice guitar in 2014. He started taking lessons from his instructor and mentor in Oak Island who then, convinced him to sing as well. After meeting and playing with a few other students, specifically, Linda Harlow, Jim Irvine and Dave Testa, the idea of a band was born.

To summarize, we all have a very strong love of our music and our desire to perform for others. All of us are still learning to be entertainers. Several of us help other bands when the need arises and all of us are involved in other volunteering positions. We love what we do and we love this community.

What about the turnover?  Do you have much?
We have had no turnover since we started performing publicly.

Do any other bands in Brunswick County play for non profits?
There is one other band that I am aware, that plays exclusively for charities and non-profits. Mike’s Garage Band has been doing this for approximately 10 years. Their fundraising revenues and have exceeded over $1million! Their band has done such great things for this area. They are great friends and supporters of our band.

Additionally, most every band down here will play a benefit or fundraiser from time to time. The band that we referred for your fundraiser earlier this year, Trilogy and their jazz band, are prime examples.

The Friends are feeling fortunate that there are people like the Back Porch Rockers that consider the plight of non profits by helping with their fundraisers. Those of us that are passionate about historic preservation, the aged, young children, pets and others thank these folks for their time, love of what they are doing and doing it with a happy heart. Again, we thank them!

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WWI Snapshot: Robert Leroy Stratmon 1900-1944

Robert Leroy Stratmon served in both WWI and WWII. He lost his life while serving in World War II.

NC WWI Service Card
Robert Leroy Stratmon was born on June 12, 1900, in Southport, Brunswick County, NC.

On October 27, 1917, Robert, listed as 18 years old, joined the US Navy. At the time, African American men were assigned only menial positions in the Navy, so he began as a Mess Attendant, 3rd Class. By the end of his service, he had risen to Wardroom Cook.

The 1920 census shows that he had returned to his home in Southport. His family relocated some time later to Boston and NYC.

Robert served in the US Naval Reserves in WWII. He died in service to his country on August 16, 1944. In the excerpt below, his name appears at the bottom right. [Source: The New York Age, June 4, 1946]

His name does not appear on WWII casualty lists, so it is assumed that he died of disease.

His remains were returned four years later from the American military cemetery in New Guinea, (USAF Cemetery, Fischaffen #2) and buried in Long Island National Cemetery.
[Source: Ancestry.com. U.S. National Cemetery Interment Control Forms, 1928-1962 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.]

Source of headstone photo: Findagrave


To view this or an earlier profile or snapshot at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.

If you would like to help us honor Robert Leroy Stratmon or another Brunswick County WWI veteran, please use the following links:

Click here for the announcement:
Announcement: Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran
Click here for directions to donate and honor a veteran:
How to Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran

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