Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Retired Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Bill Beard is a native of North Augusta.
He went to the high school and was a part of the school’s NJROTC program in 1977.
Beard said he was proud to call North Augusta his alma mater, and he was the guest speaker for a dedication ceremony for a memorial at the school’s flagpole on May 8.
The school’s FBLA and NJROTC programs collaborated to put together the Project HOMAGE memorial.
Joey Baldwin, a graduate of North Augusta High School who now attends the College of Charleston, dug and built the foundation for the legacy bricks, along with the help of his brother and father
The dedication bricks at the memorial are available for purchase.
The program allows for anyone to have the opportunity to honor a special veteran by purchasing a brick as a memorial to those who served.
Clemson University student Hannah Reece was so inspired by her father – who received a Purple Heart in September 2003 – that she authored the “HOMAGE Report.”
“The area around this flagpole has always been a place for reflection and special occasions, even during my days here at North Augusta Senior High,” Beard said. “It is very fitting that this location was chosen to honor our veterans and active duty soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, coastguardsmen and national guard.
“I was recently in town for the funeral of a classmate’s father, who was a veteran of Korea and Vietnam. Driving down Martintown Road, I decided it was time that I followed through on something that I intended to do for several years.”
Beard met with Beck and explained that he graduated from the NJROTC program and that he wanted to “share the tremendously positive impact” that it had on his career and life.
“Knowing nothing about me, he graciously invited me to come speak to his students,” Beard said. “I noticed that the students recite the cadet creed and Navy Core Values of honor, courage and commitment. When I spoke with the students, I shared a sea story or two and shared my experiences; but more than anything, I wanted to reinforce to them that core values are much more than words we recite – they’re who we are.”
Scott Rodgers is the news editor at The North Augusta Star and has been with the paper since 2013. Follow him on Twitter @NAStarRodgers.