World War II veterans honored at Springdale Baptist Church

RIPLEY–This month is the 65th anniversary of D-Day, the Allied invasion of the beaches of Normandy, and Tuesday, Springdale Baptist Church hosted an event to remember and honor those World War II veterans who served during that time. Several local veterans were in attendance, including J.T. Street and Malcolm T. Hurt, who spoke about their time in the army and the day they landed on the beaches of Normandy. amp”It’s a privilege for us to be able to honor you in this way,amp” said Stacy McKee, as he opened the ceremony honoring the veterans. amp”We thank God for the service that those veterans have given to us and the sacrifices they’ve made on our behalf.amp” McKee serves the church as associate pastor and music director. His duties include working with the Senior Saints ministry, which coordinated the event. Before the ceremony, event attendees were treated to refreshments as they walked around looking at the vast collection of World War II items collected by Randy Roberts, a native of Hernando who now resides in Ripley. amp”I work with Senior Saints, a group of about 20-25 senior adults,amp” said McKee. amp”We meet and plan activities once a month and we planned to have Randy (Roberts) come by with his collection. amp”After we planned the date, we noticed that it fell just after the 65th anniversary of D-Day and we decided to take the opportunity to honor our veterans, so we invited everyone to attend.amp” Roberts moved his family to Ripley about five years ago and has been collecting the World War II items for over 30 years. He needed 18 tables to display items from bullets and guns to full uniforms complete with medals received during the war. amp”I had two uncles that served in World War II and they kept just about everything they brought back with them,amp” said Roberts. amp”When I was 10 years old, my uncle, Dennis Glover, started giving me some of his stuff and I just started collecting.amp” Roberts said that was just the beginning of what would turn out to be a lifetime hobby of acquiring parts of World War II history. He said his hobby picked up steam after taking a job at St. Francis Hospital in Memphis. amp”I worked for 20 years at St. Francis Hospital and out of 100 volunteers, 80 of those were World War II vets,amp” Roberts said. amp”I started setting up a table for them every Veteran’s Day. I started with one little table and they started bringing me stuff. amp”They said no one would appreciate the items and they were afraid their family would throw them away. They asked me if I would keep the items for them, and I said I would.amp” Roberts added that he sets up his historic display anytime he gets the opportunity. He said he still takes his collection to St. Francis Hospital, and from time to time he is invited to show his items at local nursing homes as well as at schools in Ripley. amp”I’ve been to the school about three or four times,amp” said Roberts. amp”It seems like when I go to the school and the students actually pick up something or touch it, something clicks and they realize they are handling history and not just reading it out of a book.amp” Following the event, McKee talked about the event and said he was pleased with the turnout. Said McKee: amp”I thought the turnout was great. We had a few more veterans to show up after the ceremony, so we had seven or eight World War II veterans to show up. We were so proud to have all of them there. amp”We haven’t talked about making it an annual event, but we can’t honor our veterans enough. I think it’s very important to honor our veterans because it won’t be long before this is not talked about at all because our veterans are leaving us at a very fast rate. Our history is something that we do need to keep at the forefront of our children’s minds,amp” concluded McKee. Anyone wishing to learn more about Roberts and his collection, or those wishing to donate to his collection may contact him at 587-6077 or email him at rrobertscv61@hotmail.com.

Kedrick Storey