HAMLET — Friends and family say Richmond County and U.S. military veterans have lost a champion for their causes.
Edward O’Neal Sr., of Hamlet died Tuesday at FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital after a long fight with an illness. He was 75.
A U.S. Army Special Forces Command Sergeant Major, O’Neal retired from military service in 1976.
He served four tours in Vietnam and was awarded three Purple Heart Awards. After the first two, he returned to the battlefield.
O’Neal also spoke out for his fellow veterans. He and his wife, Mary, for many years worked with local veterans on claims which were difficult to submit.
He served with local veterans organizations and was a past commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4203 and a member of the local DAV post. In 2006, he was elected N.C. AMVETS Department Commander and remained on the Past Commanders’ Council ever since.
“If I can help the veterans, then I feel like I’m accomplishing something,” O’Neal once said.
Arrangements are incomplete at this time. Harrington Funeral Home and Crematory handling the service.