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The Bedford Museum and Genealogical Library would like to use the Thanksgiving holiday to thank all the people who have served to protect our country and our rights.

    Ben Melton has donated to the Museum one of his uniforms that was used in Iraq. This completes our collection of uniforms from every major conflict including the War of 1812.

    1st Lt Ben Melton served as an infantry platoon leader with Demon, Annialator, and Bandog Companies of the 2nd Battalion, 8th United States Cavalry Regiment of the 1st Cavalry Division, from Ft Hood TX. He was responsible for 12-18 soldiers and operated in the cities of Tarmiyah, Hor Al Bash, and Al Awad out of Camp Taji, Iraq. He was deployed from March 2007-January 2008 where he conducted many counterterrorism operations including route clearance operations, raids, air assaults, and census patrols throughout the entire deployment. Besides capturing and killing over 20 known terrorists in the areas of responsibility, his unit was also responsible for managing civil works projects contracted out to Iraqi civilians to include paving roads, building schools, clearing out drainage canals and improving water treatment facilities.

    With the help of many organizations in this area and the people of Bedford they were able to supply over 1,500 students with school supplies. They also helped to clothe Iraqi children during the sub freezing temperatures of the short winter with sweaters and assorted cold weather clothing donations. Thanks to the soldiers and the support of the American people both in Bedford and across the country, the unit was able to leave that area of Iraq safer and with a higher standard of living than when they arrived.

    The unit was redeployed back to their families on 20 January 2008. Ben is now at Ft. Bragg, GA where he has been promoted to Captain. In February he will go to the Special Forces Qualification Course at Ft. Campbell. Ben will be in Bedford this week to celebrate Thanksgiving with his family. If you see him, thank him and his unit for their great service.

Doug Cooper- Manager

Bedford Museum and Genealogy Library

Looking back

at A.P. Hill

    As we have paused to honor our Veterans on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2008, I would like to share with your readers, some of my brothers memories of training at A.P. Hill.

    My brother, Thomas W. Hicks, was among the first troops to train at A.P. Hill after the 77,000 square acres were made into a training facility. He served with Company A, 29th Infantry Division, Bedford, Virginia.

    This is how Hicks described the facility in a letter he wrote to me in June 2004, after I sent him a clipping about the D-Day Memorial, which had opened in Bedford.

    Hicks writes: “I was at A.P. Hill 4 times. One time they had just opened it up and did not have anything except a few roads which were from one farm to another, but the farm houses had been torn down.

    We slept in our pup tents, 2 to a tent. No water or bath available. We had our kitchen in a large tent with portable stoves for cooking. I don’t remember where our water came from, but it was in a water bag hanging from the limb of a tree and was trucked in a tank truck. We stayed about two weeks.” Then the troops returned to Ft. Meade, Md.

    Hicks remembered that Governor Pollard, the governor of Virginia, drove up to inspect the troops. Hicks writes, “The troops went out to a hay field to wait for the governor to arrive.”

    Hicks writes of the changes that took place at the Hill during his four times spent there. Hicks writes: “The last time I was there, a lot of permanent buildings has been put up, it was real comfortable. We had showers, it was much better.”

    Hicks went on to Officers Candidate School at Camp Benning, Ga. His tour of duty was in the states.

    Many of the men from Company A trained in England in preparation for the D-Day Invasion. The D-Day Memorial in Bedford is a moving tribute to the men from town who served their country, 22 losing their lives.

    Hicks, age 90, continues to live in Bedford. I am proud to have him as a brother. I appreciate the sacrifice he and all those others who have served our country made.

    Let us never forget.

Janet Hicks Carter

Milford, Va.


Mill fundraiser

    On Saturday, Nov. 15, the members of the Big Otter Mill Foundation put on a Brunswick Stew Festival, to raise money for to help restore the old mill.

    Tony Ware very kindly cooked the Brunswick stew, and he must have got up at the crack of dawn, or probably before it had started to crack, because he was there at 3 a.m. to start cooking. The weather was atrocious, with gales and buckets of rain, which soon turned  the new parking lot into a quagmire. The wind caused some of the pegs that were guying the tent to work loose. So big puddles of water collected on the tent roof, and periodically dumped cold water onto the visitors. Joe Pillow, who put up the tent for us, kept walking around hammering the tent pegs.

    Then a gust of wind blew plastic bowls and containers all over the muddy lot, and they had to be rounded up. Eventually about 1 p.m. the last scrap of Brunswick stew had been eaten.

    Meanwhile, Dick Burnett was busy showing people around the old mill, and there was a constant stream of people there. We had some very handsome mugs made up to promote some publicity for the mill. These mugs are genuine china, made in China (they’ve gotta be genuine: where else can you buy genuine China?) The decoration was applied by Virginia Flavorings. We have been selling these mugs steadily, but Dick found a customer who bought no less than five dozen of these mugs for Christmas presents.

    It was very gratifying to find out how interested all the visitors were in the old mill. Finally we tidied things up, and went home, soaked to the skin, spattered with mud from helping drivers stuck in the mud.

    A few days previously the mill was visited by members of “SPOOM” (Society of the Preservation Of Old Mills). These are mostly people who are operating mills around the country, and they visited a number of mills in this area. About 18 members visited the mill, but by the time they got here, and they had to inspect the mill by flashlight. They were all surprised how good was the condition of the mill that had stood vacant for so many years.

    Thanks are due to the many people who helped us with this project.

David Mends


Thanks for

successful event

    Thank you from Big Otter Mill for a very successful Brunswick Stew Fundraiser.

    The rains came, and so did the crowd!  It was amazing.  Amid the rain and the mud, our visitors bought all the Brunswick stew before 1 p.m.  Thank you.

    We extend a big thanks to Master Engineering & Designers, our principal sponsor.  We were a success before we even started because of their generosity.

    Thanks to Bank of the James for donating the supplies and labor for the Stew.  Tony Ware, who makes the best stew around, was on site at 3 a.m. to begin the cooking. He was assisted by his cohorts, Jim Watson and Dan Mason, and Amy Tesi from the Bank who helped serve.

    Thanks to Joseph Pillow, auctioneer, for the loan of his tent, tables and chairs. We would have had a disaster without that tent!

    Thank you to our other sponsors:  Scott & Bond, Inc.; Becky Wuergler, Realtor;  Kandy Shackelford, Farm Bureau Insurance; Mark Jenkins, Axa Advisors; George Cooper, State Farm Insurance; Bedford Memorial Hospital; Roger Henderson; Commercial Glass & Plastics; Fredericks Flowers; Mountain Fruit & Produce; A. J. Gross & Son; Stellar One Bank, K & K Signs, Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory

    Thanks to Ronnie Wuergler and Dickie Burnett for their work that began at 5:30 a.m. and continued through the day. Thanks to Randy Parr who worked and brought his sister and brother in-law to help.  Thanks to June Goode and David Mends who were busy all day.

    Special thanks to Craig, Kristy and Will Milton.  This was their inaugural event, I don’t know what we would have done without them.  Will may be our head docent in a few years. Also thanks to Carlton Toms and his brother, Bennie and to Carolyn and Gary Detraz for all their work. 

    Thank you Bedford Bulletin and John Barnhart for the great article showcasing the event.  Many of our visitors complimented you on that.  Thanks to Bedford Parks and Recreation for lending coolers and trash receptacles.  And thanks to Wilson for supplying the sanitary stations.

    And mostly, we extend a big thanks to all of you who braved the elements and came out in support of our efforts.  It was a success because of all of you.

Becky Wuergler


Poignant plea

    This letter, written by Judy Rojas of Bedford as a holiday season plea for responsible pet ownership and appearing in print 10 years ago, was especially noted for urging spaying and neutering to help solve the problems of overpopulation and unwanted pets.

    Dear Santa Paws:

    I have never written a letter before but I need some help.

    I can tell its getting close to Christmas time because all of the houses have colored lights and pretty trees in the windows. I see people carrying boxes with pretty paper and bows on them. I wish I could go inside with them and see those Christmas trees up close. But I can’t. I have no home, Santa Paws.

    Sometimes at night I curl up real tight and wish I had a home and a Christmas tree and pretty boxes with paper and bows. And some food. And somebody to love me, Santa Paws. I’m all by myself and I’m scared. I don’t know what to do. You see, I am part of the growing population of homeless pets. Nobody wants us. Some days I feel so bad I wish I had never been born. How come nobody wants me? It’s not fair.

    I don’t know how much linger I can live like this, Santa Paws. I keep telling myself things will get better. It’s hard to find food and warm places to sleep. Some days I find a good garbage can, but the bigger animals always chase me. And people won’t let me sleep in their yards. They call me names and throw things at me.

    Sometimes I see pets with their people and they look really happy. One day I saw a really nice house with some pets in the yard. I got brave and washed my face trying to look really pretty. I walked into the yard hoping that somebody would help me. Maybe if they saw how quiet I was they would take me inside. But this mean person came out and chased me with a broom.

    The other homeless animals laugh at me when I tell them my dreams of finding a nice warm home. Some place where somebody will love me and take care of me. When I told them I was thinking of sending a letter to Santa Paws they told me I was crazy. “There is no “Santa Paws,” they said. “Grow up and quit acting like a baby!”

    But I know you are real. And I know you will listen when I tell you what I want for Christmas. So please, Santa Paws, please, please bring me somebody who wants and loves me. Somebody that I can curl up with and tell them how happy I am that they are my very special lifetime friend.

    I’ve been real good this year, Santa Paws, and I just promise that I will be very good and never get into any trouble. Just please help me.

    I hope you can find me on Christmas Eve. I can’t put my address on this letter, you see, Santa Paws, this bush doesn’t have an address.

    A Homeless Animal

Submitted by: Arlene Jentsch



    Referring to last week’s letters to the editor by Richard Ruff about SPP and NAFTA. He is accurate. Virgil Goode crafted HR 40 to stop SPP (Security and Prosperity Partnership) and the NAFTA super highway, which will split our country in half top to bottom. NAFTA super highway relies on expanded eminent domain. Only Congress can stop SPP and the super highway. (Virgil’s bill has 40 plus sponsors – probably more – today.) Pelosi refused to allow Virgil’s bill to come for a vote.

    Republican headquarters on North Bridge in the last campaign posted Congressman Goode’s bill, copies of the NAFTA fact sheets and a colored map of the NAFTA super highway.

    The super highway will wipe out productive farmland and family farms, towns, churches, schools, and industries. The super highway will be six-football fields wide and extends from deepest southwest Mexico straight through to Kansas City the US port then into Canada.

    NAFTA was “sold” to Congress and the American people as a “trade” bill. It is far more extensive than that. Major corporations, US Chamber of Congress and Council on Foreign Affairs are pushing these initiatives to completion. Make no mistake, they have the power to force SPP and the super highway as well as other issues on the American people. There will be no sovereign USA. Individuals mentioned in the planning are Ed Gillespie, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Richard Lugar, George Shulz, Condoleeza Rice, Tim Keating, Tom Ridge and others.

    Fifth District voters abandoned the constitutional, experienced wisdom of Virgil Goode for a liberal newcomer. That is tragedy. The new president is a socialist-liberal. We can only guess at what is coming. Too much work has gone into NAFTA with Mexico and Canada to believe NAFTA Union could be stopped. National sovereignty and safety is at risk. Ominous!

Joyce L. Pedigo



    For those of you who, for what ever reason, voted for Obama, you got what you wanted and it felt good at the time.

    The elections are over, now its time to put out the cigarettes and examine a few of the things you agreed to in your moment of ecstasy. I am sure the novelty is going to wear off your new toy in a hurry. President-elect Obama stated the he would cut tax rates (corporate) on corporations keeping jobs in the United States. Impossible, corporations do not pay taxes, they include them in the price of their products and pass them on to the consumer. Cut taxes on 95 percent of Americans, impossible, only 50 percent of wage earners pay taxes. Cut capital gains taxes on small business, impossible, small businesses  — 80 percent of American jobs – do not pay capital gains taxes, it pays the higher rated income taxes; raise taxes (income) on earnings of 250,000 or more, probable – this includes individuals and small business.

    So what happens when these income taxes are imposed? For small business, it is not feasible to pass this on to the consumer, so the business is forced to cut expense to remain competitive or even in operation. The largest expense for business is you, the employee.

    For the individual, it means less money for investment and job creation. The individuals with $250,000+ income are the ones that create 80 percent of the jobs. So as jobs and investment evaporate, the tax base gets smaller and the number of government dependents goes up, resulting in eventual prolonged recession. But Barack Obama will pay your bills, right, but how? Especially with so many new dependent siblings.

    Not to worry, there are still retirement accounts to tax and the capital gains tax to be raised along with the death tax and many more.

    So what will be the response to all of this? As explained lay-offs and investment in business will slow down. But not only this, since election day I have already heard reports of at least two places that will fire every “employee” and re-hire them through temp services, turning them into “workers.” This puts the increased income tax burden on the temp services, but also cuts the former “employees’” pay.

    I have also heard rumors of moving retirement accounts into other areas out of government reach. I personally refuse to invest in anything in this country as long as a Marxist government is in power. Why should anyone? It is pointless to invest only to have it taken from you and re-distributed, if you are even lucky enough to profit in a Marxist environment. I and others like me will just watch the train wreck from a safe distance, and when the smoke clears we will be there, cash in hand, to buy the shattered liberal hope and broken dreams for pennies on the dollar. We will then sell them for a huge profit once the Marxist government is voted out. Curses – exploited again!

    There are two things that are certain in a Marxist-redistribution government they are (A) for everyone that gets something for nothing, someone gets nothing for something – and (B) when the government provides every need there is no drive to achieve, when government takes the fruit of your achievement to re-distribute there is no drive to achieve. I feel that the Obama voters are going to learn a hard, disappointing lesson in the next four years, that is, government cannot elevate you to prominence. But you got what you wanted and it felt good at the time.

    As an afterthought I know liberals like to wear their hearts on their sleeves, for those of us who like to wear our disgust on our bumpers, let me to coin one for you – Liberalism is a politically transmitted disease. If you can print it, and you dare, put it on your bumper.

W.E. Boothe