Braxton Citizens' News, Community

County to recognize native son… hero

Brig. Gen. Kemp McLaughlin to be honored with recognition at Courthouse

Dr. Doug Given was first to speak to the Braxton County Commission at their meeting last Friday. Dr. Given’s mission was to request that some sort of permanent recognition be made to a Braxton County native who is undoubtedly the highest ranking and most decorated soldier to hail from the area, Brigadier General James Kemp McLaughlin.

Dr. Given outlined McLaughlin’s distinguished career and presented the Commission with a letter from West Virginia National Guard Adjutant General William E. Crane supporting the recognition. Major General Crane detailed some of McLaughlin’s accomplishments in his letter, “Brig. Gen. McLaughlin is known as an exemplary West Virginia and a true American patriot whose legacy reaches far and wide across this great state and nation…

“McLaughlin served valiantly in the infamous 8th Air Force or ‘Mighty Eight’ where he assisted in carrying out strategic bombing campaigns in France, Germany and the Low Countries during the war. He flew 39 bombing missions during World War II, fighting America’s battles over the European skies.

“While his legacy reached far and wide during World War II, his greatest legacy was here in West Virginia where he established the WV Air National Guard in 1947 and dedicated his life as a civil servant. His leadership, tenacity and courage paved the way for generations of Citizen-Airmen to serve their state and country in times of peace and of conflict and for that, we are forever indebted to him as a founder and ardent support of the WVANG,” Major General Cane wrote in his letter of support.

Dr. Given went on to explain that the request he was making was on behalf of the McLaughlin family and that the recognition could be in any form the Commission chose, either inside the courthouse or on the Courthouse Square. He further stated that he would be enlisting the assistance of the local American Legion and others to design and finance the memorial and that the Commission would have final approval over its’ design and placement.

At the conclusion of the discussion, Melvin Gum made a motion to approve the request and allow the planning to proceed.

In other action the Commission approved the short form settlements as submitted by the Fiduciary Supervisor for the following: Lura Ellen Carte, Audre Irene Cunningham, Gary Lewis Gray, Marjorie Ruth Hall, Lola Ruth Jackson, and Carolyn Judy Mortan.

An application for correction of erroneous assessment for Daniel and Sammie Cogar was approved.

Two purchase orders came before the Commission for consideration. The first authorized the Sheriff’s Tax Office to purchase 2 Dell Optiplex Micro computers from GST at a cost of $1,326.62. The second allowed EMS to purchase 10 – 500 watt LED Highboy lights for the 9-1-1 complex from Amazon at a cost of $1,059.

Larry Clifton made a motion to approve the purchase of a new executive chair for the Circuit Courtroom bench.

Commissioner Gum introduced action to approve the appointment of Luke Nettles as Braxton County Humane Office.

The Commission approved budget revisions for the Assessor’s Office as requested by the Edie Tichner Assessor.

Following a review the Commission approved the resignation of Mike Johnson from the Holly Gray Park Board and instructed their administrative assistant to place an advertisement to solicit letters from anyone interested in filling the vacancy.

Larry Clifton made a motion to release the APR funds that had been allocated to the county’s fire departments.

Following reviews, separate motions approved the county invoices and the minutes from the Commission’s January 6 meeting.

The meeting concluded with a discussion with Sheriff Lou DellaMae pertaining to advertising for vacant positions and having deputies sign retention agreements. The Sheriff also presented a list of what he would like to see the Commission approve. That list included: Pay increase for all deputies; Replace vehicles in a more timely manner; Explore means (grants) to secure funds to place deputies in schools; Money seized from drug arrests by deputies should come directly to Sheriff’s agency not the drug task force; Deputies should be at school to speak to students referencing their career plans. Commission President Lisa Godwin told the Sheriff that his suggestions could be discussed in more depth at a futher work session.

The meeting adjourned at 9:27 a.m. The next regularly scheduled meeting will be on February 3 beginning at 9:00 a.m.