In memory of all the ‘Good Guys’

Published 3:59 pm Tuesday, November 5, 2019

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Billy Cowgur served in the Army four years in Vietnam and was awarded the Purple Heart.

He passed away in May of this year; but his memories and patriotism live on in his wife Artie and his grandson, Jackson Pelletier, a Kindergartner at Grace Christian Academy. They will continue to observe Veteran’s day by placing flags in the cemeteries this year,

In November, 2016, Cowgur was featured in a front page article of The Post Searchlight recognizing one veteran from each branch of the military. He was the representative of the U.S. Army.

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It told the story of his serving in Vietnam as part of the 24th Infantry Division, during which time he was wounded in a battle that wiped out 80 percent of his company. He was the only wounded one flown out by a Medic chopper. They couldn’t get close enough to land to help the American troops, but one pilot said, “If you have him out there, I will come down. I’m not going to land, but you can throw him on the chopper and I’ll get him out of there.” And that’s what happened with Cowgur. He was flown to a hospital in Japan then transferred stateside for additional treatment at Fort Carson, Colorado in 1968.

The article stated that Cowgur eagerly joined the Army at age 19, explaining, “That’s what you did. That’s the way it was around my family.”

He never lost his fervor for Veterans Day. It was an important time of the year and he always looked forward to the annual ceremony at Willis Park. “They put their life on the line for the country and the people that live here,” Cowgur said. “You have to show some kind of respect for that. They deserve that.”

He would go to the cemeteries on Veterans’ Day and place flags on the graves.

Artie and her grandson will place the flags this year. “I am trying to teach him the importance of carrying on the tradition and remembering our fallen heroes,” said Artie.

The City of Bainbridge was designated A Purple Heart City in September, 2014, along with other communities, recognizing those wounded in conflict. Cowgur played a big part in making that happen, along with others in the veterans’ association.

Artie says Purple Heart signs were placed at Home Depots in other cities, and they had tried each year to get one in the Bainbridge Home Depot lot. Finally, the newest manager Holly Kornegay, this year agreed to place two signs in the handicapped parking areas.

Kornegay said that when she took over the store she had met with Mrs. Cowgur and when she heard her story she immediately ordered the signs to be installed. “Home Depot as a corporation is devoted to helping U.S. veterans whenever we can,” she explained. She told of projects they have undertaken to make improvements to homes of veterans who needed help and have even painted and fixed up VFW halls, with volunteers and donations. “We are very dedicated to our veterans and helping them whenever we can.” She noted the signs had been up since the beginning of the year.

Artie is very thankful to Home Depot for their cooperation and her goal is to carry on the traditions in honor of her late husband. “He was just a good guy who helped anyone who needed help. He used to prepare bags for the homeless with daily necessities and helped a friend deliver food packages to those in need,” she explained. Emphasizing one more time, “He was just a good guy.”