The National Association for Black Veterans, Inc. honored veterans for their commitment and dedication with a banquet and ceremony at the Sheraton Greensboro at Four Seasons on Saturday, June 10, 2017 in North Carolina.
“Veterans’ Honor Day Banquet”
“Your Sacrifices and Willingness to Fight in Defense of our Nation Merits our Deepest Respect and Praise.”
~ Honoring Veterans for Their Commitment and Dedication ~
~ Guest Speaker ~
~ Secretary Larry D. Hall ~
Secretary Hall is currently serving as the Secretary for the North Carolina Department of Military & Veterans Affairs. Secretary Hall represented Durham County, North Carolina’s 29th District in the House of Representatives, since 2006 and he led House Democrats since 2012. Born and raised in his district and a student of public schools. Secretary Hall earned a B.S. with Honors in Political Science and Business from Johnson C. Smith University and a J.D. from the School of Law at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Upon undergrad graduation, he was commissioned as an Officer in the United States Marine Corps. A decorated officer, Secretary Hall served 16 years in the United States Marines and Marine Corps Reserves and served in the support of the Operations in the Middle East in Lebanon and Iran. Secretary Hall has been awarded the Navy Achievement Medal, the Marine Corps Reserve Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal, and a Meritorious Unit Citation from the United States Marine Corps. He served as a Rifle Platoon Commander, Weapons Company Executive Officer, Training Officer, Battalion Area Security Officer, Staff Judge Advocate, Communications Security Officer and Logistics Officer. Secretary Hall also served as Legal Officer and was formerly Commandant for the Marine Corps League Detachment, which assists Marines transitioning from active duty to civilian life in locating employment, housing and educational opportunities for their families. Secretary Hall is an active member of the community. He has served as an Executive Committee Member and Economic Committee Chairman of the Durham Branch of the NAACP, as Secretary and Chairman of the Durham Business and Professional Chain, and served on the Durham Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. He has also served as Executive Officer of the Young Marines Program, Board Chairman of the Durham Companions Mentor Program, and as an instructor and training officer teaching youth leadership, discipline, custom, courtesies, and traditions of the Marine Corps. Secretary Hall’s service to North Carolina continues to be merited, receiving the NAACP’s President’s Award, Equality in Legislation Leadership Award, and Excellence from the Courtroom to the Capital Community Service Award. Secretary Hall has been featured multiple times in Governing magazine and has been honored as a Champion of NC Working Families, a 100% Environmental Champion, and a Defender of Justice for his commitment to safeguarding voting rights, expanding opportunities throughout the state for individuals and communities of low incomes, and protecting vulnerable families and members of the military from predatory lending. As House Democratic Leader, Secretary Hall served on the state’s Economic Development Board, the state’s Innovation Council, The North Carolina Courts Commission—Chairperson, The Duke Medical Center Advisory Board, the Homeland Security, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee—Chairman, and has been inducted as a Toll Fellow by the National Conference of State Governments. He was elected to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) 2015 Board of Directors to devise and execute nationwide election strategy in state legislatures. Secretary Hall also is Chair of the North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus Foundation.
~ National Association for Black Veterans Creed ~
WE ARE YESTERDAY
WE ARE TOMORROW
WE ARE EARTH
WE ARE SKY
WE ARE ALL THINGS
BUT MOST OF ALL
WE ARE PROUD MEN AND WOMEN TODAY
“For every tragic story of a life unraveled by military battle, there are a dozen tales of individuals who have managed to
triumph over the harrowing experiences of war and ruin.”
On an ongoing basis, the National Association for Black Veterans, Inc. (NABVETS) will provide strategic advocacy on behalf of its membership with Congress and the federal administration; state administrations; county and city legislators; and other agencies and organizations.
NABVETS will provide personal advocacy on behalf of veterans seeking claims against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and will foster community development by creating positive lifestyles for veterans and their families. NABVETS will generate and preserve the historical record for minority veterans.
NABVETS is a professional organization with a vision:
· To reach 50 percent of the national Black veteran population as its membership base.
· To establish State Departments and Command Councils in every state and in every city with a population exceeding 250,000.
· To reach younger veterans who are on active duty or who have recently separated from the military.
· To serve ALL veterans; but, especially low-income veterans.
· To obtain financial viability (generate sufficient income to meet all of NABVETS’ needs).
Master of Ceremony
~ Mr. Bruce Davis ~
5:00 – 6:00 Social
~ Buffalo Soldiers ~
~ Rev. Dr. Laverne Carter ~
~ Master of Ceremony ~
~ Bishop Thomas Fowler ~
Remarks by NABVETS Regional Commander
~ Mr. Richard Kingsberry ~
Remarks by NABVETS State Commander
~ Rev Katherine Washington-Williams ~
~ Mr. Howard Drake ~
~ DINNER ~
Introduction of Guest Speaker
~ Master of Ceremony ~
~ Secretary Larry D. Hall ~
Presentation of Awards
~ Secretary Hall, Cdr. Bailey and NABVETS Representatives~
~ Honorees and Presenters ~
Mr. Rufus Thompson ~ Ms. Wanda Autrey
Mr. Jesse L. Walls ~ Rev. Dr. Laverne Carter
Mr. Haywood L. Hammond, Sr. ~ Mr. Herbert Surgeon
Mr. Matthew Lee ~ Mr. Eric Young
Dr. Tyrone D. Hunter ~ Bishop Thomas Fowler
Ms. Patricia Dance ~ Rev. Dr. Laverne Carter
Mr. John R. Thompson ~ Ms. Tammy Williamson
~ Mrs. Novella Mapp ~
~ Commander Allen Thomas Bailey ~
~ Honoring Veterans for Their Commitment and Dedication ~
~ Mr. Rufus Thompson ~
Mr. Thompson is the third oldest child of nine from two Christian and loving parents, who learn early in life the values in caring, sharing and helping others. The need of such values were reinforced while serving his time in Vietnam. He witnessed first-hand the horrors of war; not only the pain and suffering of a suppressed people, but the devastation it caused to his fellow comrades and their families. After being honorably discharged from the US Army in 1971, and to put the War behind him, he took advantage of the GI bill. He started pursuing his education part time. During this period, he married the love of his life, Ms. Dora Moore on February 17, 1973. In 1974, the Thompsons were offered an opportunity to help kids with behavior problems with the Department of Social Services. Reflecting on those kids in the war, made it easy to answer yes to serve. However, in 1980, not only did Mr. Thompson become a father but he also graduated with his B.S. Degree in Business from A&T State University. Four years later he was blessed with a baby girl. Some years later, Mr. Thompson reached out to the community center McConnell Rd to help the kids in the area improve their communication skills.
Mr. Thompson was once asked, if money were not an option, what would you do with your life? Mr. Thompson’s answer was to be a philanthropist. He feels that he has been extremely blessed to have such a wonderful family with includes two beautiful grandkids, a wonderful wife for 44 years, and a 30 year career/retirement with the United States Postal Services, that when ones cup runs over, they have a responsibility to pass those overflowing blessings on to others. Even though he states that money is still an option, Mr. Thompson wants his life to make a positive difference in others. I can personally say that this is true. I met Mr. Thompson in 2013, and discovered that he love the game of Golf. He informed me that he wanted to celebrate his 65th birthday on November 25, 2013, and the best birthday gift he could get from his golf buddies was a donation to honor disabled veterans. This was his first Golf Tournament and he and his fellow golfers raised $234.19. In his second annual golf tournament to celebrate his 66th birthday, he and his group raised $400. In his third annual golf tournament (with Bill Tate) to celebrate his 67th birthday, he and his group raised over $400. In his fourth annual golf tournament to celebrate his 68th birthday for NABVETs, he and his group raised over $500.
~ Mr. Jesse Linwood Walls ~
Mr. Jesse L. Walls was born on January 18, 1949 in Smithfield, NC to the parents of Jesse H. Wall and Rachel W. Wall. Mr. Walls is the youngest of five children. Two brothers-both having served in the US Army and the US Air Force- are deceased. His two sisters are still living. Jesse met Sheri Perrella, his wife of forty-seven years, at Burlington Industries-J Spencer Love Hosiery in Burlington where they both worked, in July 1968. The couple were married on August 16, 1969 at Blessed Sacrament Church in Burlington, N.C. Jesse and Sheri went on their honeymoon the week after marriage. When they returned his mother handed him an envelope containing his draft notice. The couple are the proud parents of two children, Kyle and Jessica.
Jesse reported to the reception center in Raleigh N.C. on September 8, 1969. He was assigned to Fort Bragg, Fayetteville, North Carolina for basic training and Fort McClellan, Alabama for advanced infantry training. On February 7, 1970 Jesse arrived in the Republic of Vietnam as an infantry man and was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division. located at base camp Cu Chi, South Vietnam. Later the Division moved to Tay Ninh, about 5 Miles from the Cambodian Border where the command supported several major assault operations. While assigned to this command Jesse assumed the billet of infantry radio telephone operator (IRTO). Three months into the tour he was transferred to the 4thBn, 9th Infantry Brigade (known as the Manchus), 25th Infantry Division. In May 1970, the brigade and other brigades entered Cambodian in support of the Regiment’s mission of stopping the North Vietnamese regular army from infiltrating into South Vietnam. This effort lasted for forty-five days. In October 1970, he transferred to the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) and promoted to the rank of Corporal. While with the airmobile command he continued combat air assaults missions until December 1970. Jesse was awarded three Air Medals (each medal representing 25 combat helicopter assaults missions) and a Bronze Star for combat operations while being in Vietnam. From Vietnam, he was transferred to Fort Benning, Georgia to complete the remaining six months of his enlistment. While at Fort Benning he was promoted to Sergeant.
After the military, Jesse went back to work for a year in the credit department of Burlington Industries-J Spencer Love Hosiery in Burlington, North Carolina. In September 1972, he enrolled at Elon College and with the aid of his lovely and supportive wife attend college year-round graduating in 3 years with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting. After graduation, Jesse started a job with Burlington Medical Equipment and stayed there for nine months. He answered an ad for a finance manager at the local Chevrolet dealership and was hired on the spot. Jesse has since retired from the dealership after being employed for thirty-nine years. He still works part time at the dealership and is enjoying having more time for playing golf and traveling.
~ Mr. Haywood L. Hammond, Sr.~
Mr. Hammond, Sr. was born and raised in North Carolina with his parents and siblings. Raised on a farm, he learned the true meaning of hard work. After graduation, Mr. Hammond joined the United States Army and was soon deployed to the Korean War theatre. Mr. Hammond was assigned to the only all Black company in Korea – Company D. He and his peers travelled in open trucks with no overhead protection from the environment or enemy artillery. Company B fought bravely, served with distinction and valor, per the Army’s top NCO. While in the Korean arena of responsibility, Mr. Hammond was assigned to the company commander as his protector and driver.
During his tour of duty, his unit was exposed to neglect, inferior white leadership, institutional racism, and severe weather conditions. Their equipment, uniforms, and sleeping quarters (tents) were no match for sub-zero temperatures and the high accumulation of snowfall. After extremely demanding and arduous days, his unit was forced to sleep in muddy uniforms and used their overcoats as a protective layer between their bodies and the earth. When physical deterioration struck, they were evacuated and treated for life threatening frostbites. Returning and not fully recovered, the Soldiers continued to fight – broken and fearless.
After leaving the military, Mr. Hammond relocated his family to Greensboro and soon became part of the city’s rich historical Black history. Mr. Hammond Haywood became one of first Black firemen in the City of Greensboro and currently enjoys his picture on the Wells Fargo Bank mural located inside the Bessemer Ave branch. Furthermore, he and his fire engine crew names are listed in a plat in front of Fire Station #4.
Over the years, Mr. Hammond work history includes 35 years of services at Greensboro Guilford Mills as a mechanical technician. After a brief retirement, he accepted employment at Dudley High School as a custodian. His impact at the school was tremendous. Mr. Hammond became a mentor and father figure for many of the students. Teaching kids life and survival skills and lessons about the value of attaining higher education. He later retired from the school, but he continues to be called upon by many of the former students. Now adults, they return to thank him for his time and the advice given to them by this humble servant.
Mr. Hammond continues to mentor whenever the opportunity arises. Today, Mr. Hammond serves as a deacon, usher, and volunteer custodial services at the Community of Faith Baptist Church, Greensboro. He is a member of Green Tree’s community neighborhood watch program.
In 1975, Mr. Hammond married his longtime sweetheart, Gwendolyn. As of May 4th 2017, they share 42 years of marital harmony. They have 5 boys named Michael Wayne, Haywood, Jr., Fred (deceased), David and Eric, 12 grandkids, and 5 great grandkids. Mr. Hammond is a Veteran, husband, father, friend, and mentor who continues to display exemplary courage and leadership. His military service and sacrifice are IMPRESSIVE by any standard.
~ Mr. Matthew Lee ~
Mr. Matthew Lee was born and raised in Detroit Michigan. After high school, Matthew joined the armed forces and earned an elite membership to the most versatile Special Operations in the world. Matthew served in Vietnam with the 5th Special Forces Group where he specialized in and participated in long-range, live-fire reconnaissance and tactical operations.
As the subject matter expert in explosive evasions and escapes, he strategically eluded capture and led his soldiers in high priority operational targets. This required mastery in lifesaving techniques and fearlessness in recovery and extraction operations. Matthew served his country for 25 years with valor, courage, and dedication.
Amongst his superiors and his peers, as a combat engineer and airborne jumpmaster, he was awarded numerous combat awards and citations. His final military assignment landed him in the position of Post Command Sergeant Major at Fort Belvoir, VA where he served as the principal enlisted advisor to the post commander.
After serving his country, Matthew earned his Masters Degree in Social Services from Howard University. Matthew continues to be a servant for his country. He is a mentor and friend! Motivated and dedicated to helping families live a higher quality of life.
~ Ms. Patricia Dance ~
She served in the United States Marine Corps from December 1974 to December 1977 and served as a military spouse in the Corps from 1977 to 1995. She has volunteered as bookkeeper for – Navy Marine Corps Relief and Staff NCO Wives Club.
As a Girl Scout Leader of a Junior Troop then a Cadette Troop and other Leaders she encouraged girls to be self-confident as they learned leadership, communication, customer service and outdoor skills. She has taken part of various Mission activities since 1982 as a member of United Methodist Women. Also, a member of the Women Marines Association.
When she moved back to North Carolina in 2003 she knitted baby blankets for the babies in Foster Care at Florence Crittenton in Charlotte and lap robes for people with life-limiting illnesses/end of life care at the Agape House for Palliative Care. In 2005, after moving to Lexington, she began and continues the Prayer Blanket ministry delivering to people facing surgery, cancers and end of life situations by visiting them in their homes, hospitals, nursing homes, hospice facilities or even mailing to those living out of state.
~ Bishop Dr. Tyrone D. Hunter ~
Bishop Tyrone D. Hunter was drafted July 11, 1966. He completed Basic training at Fort Jackson, SC and military occupation training at Fort Hood, Texas. He served in Vietnam for one year (1966-1967). After returning home, he married Mrs. Hunter on July 17, 1967.
Bishop Tyrone D. Hunter, is the Senior Pastor of St Thomas Chapel Pentecostal Holiness Church, located in Greensboro, North Carolina, where he has pastored for over 37 years. Under the leadership of Pastor Hunter, the current church moved from the old church building, to the current, newly constructed, edifice in 1995 and the present membership has grown to more than 250 members. The church is under the auspice of the Greater International Pentecostal Holiness Churches, Inc., where Pastor Hunter is serving a second term as the Vice President. Pastor Hunter’s ministry originated in the Washington, DC area under the leadership of Bishop John L. Meares Sr. at Evangel Temple. He spent many of the early years of his ministry evangelizing on the street corners to a people that would not typically be found in the church. He has been evangelizing for more than 50 years and has fondly become know as the “Eagle Preacher” for his faith in God’s word for his people that shall wait upon Him.
Bishop is foremost a teacher and pastor, but he also serves as a willing vessel to evangelize and do missions work. His outreach ministry has included trips abroad to Jamaica, where he as ministered, and under his leadership the church has purchased supplies and furnishings for use oversees. At the end of each quarter, the church ships it’s used Sunday School books to one of the Ministries in Jamaica to help get the word around the world. Bishop Hunter is also a Chaplin and spends many volunteer hours ministering at Moses Cone Hospital.
He received his Bachelor of Theology Degree from the Pentecostal School of Theology in Martinsville, VA and his Doctorate of Theology from the former Bethlehem Bible College. Pastor Hunter then opened a division of the Bethlehem Bible College in Greensboro, NC where he was the Dean and Chancellor.
It was on January 5, 2002 when Pastor Hunter was consecrated to the office of Bishop. The Lord then laid on the heart of Bishop and his wife to open their own Bible College, and in August of 2004 the vision was made manifest as Bishop Hunter became the Founder and President of the Living Epistle Bible College, located in Greensboro, North Carolina. The college meets every Saturday and has an average enrollment of almost 50 students,
Among his many spiritual, scholastic, and earthly achievements Bishop Hunter also is married to Dr. Juanita W. Hunter. The two have been joined together in marriage for more than 40 years and to their union were born 5 children. He is a man of God who has a heart for people and loves preaching the word of God.
~ Mr. John R. Thompson ~
In 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt signed an Executive Order allowing African Americans to enlist in the Marine Corps. However, African Americans were not allowed to train at the traditional boot camps of Parris Island, South Carolina or San Diego, California. African Americans were shipped to Montford Point, Camp Lejeune North Carolina for training.
In 1943 Mr. John R. Thompson was working at a movie theater in Kannapolis, North Carolina selling popcorn when he decided to serve his country in the U.S. Marine Corps. After graduating from George Washington Carver High School, he went to Fort Bragg, where he met with a Maine recruiter, was sworn in and shipped to the Montford Point Training Facility. Upon completion of basic training, Mr. Thompson worked as a drill instructor assistant. He joined a boxing team at Montford Point and continued his assignment of assistant drill instructor. After completing the drill instructor assignment, he was transferred to the ammunition school for three weeks of training. Upon completion of ammunition school training, he was assigned to an ammunition company.
Thompson’s next assignment was to depart on the USS Lamar from Norfolk, Va., for the Pacific Theater providing logistical support to the frontline marines. His stops included Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands. Thompson said while he didn’t experience direct combat during that time, serving in a support role, it was still a challenging experience.
When Mr. Thompson returned to North Carolina, he studied electronics for two years at a technical college in Durham. He then returned to Kannapolis, where he ran an electronics repair business from his home.
Thompson later enrolled at the Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina, now N.C. A&T State University, in 1950 to study electrical engineering. He left college for a period but later returned after he married his wife, Christina. He earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Industrial Education from A&T and went on to teach with the Guilford County School System, where he retired.
On June 27, 2012, the President of the United States presented Mr. Thompson the Congressional Gold Medal. The Congressional Gold Medal and the President Medal of Freedom are the highest civilian honor bestowed by Congress for distinguished achievement. Mr. John Thompson continues to reside in Greensboro, NC with his beautiful wife Christina.
~ Honoring Veterans’ for Their Commitment and Dedication ~
Now Open for Veterans Claim and Benefit Services
NABVETS Guilford County Chapter 0118
1600 E. Wendover Ave
Greensboro, NC 27401
Chapter 0118 is hosting a “meet and greet” celebration on
July 7, 2017 at 4:00 to 7:00 pm. This event is open to the public.
Ms. Wanda Autrey
Mr. Louis Carven
Smyrna Church of Christ, Reidsville, NC
Deacon Kenneth Turner
Mr. Carl Lowe
St Thomas Chapel Pentecostal Holiness Church
The Carolina Peacemaker article: