A program launched by the state in 2008 helps voters honor their veterans.
The Vote in Honor of a Veteran Program provides North Carolina citizens an opportunity to pay tribute to those who have served this country and protected our freedom. You can honor a Veteran at the upcoming General Election in November by requesting a button and/or sharing a story that may be posted on the North Carolina State Board of Elections website, www.ncsbe.gov.
Local family and friends of veterans of all conflicts in Richmond County have begun filling out their forms, after hearing about the program from Georgia Cagle, Rockingham resident and owner of Little Bo Steakhouse in Roberdel. She discovered the program on the state elections website, and asked for sheets to sign people up.
“This has grown into something really big,” said Cagle, who is also a candidate for county commissioner. “I’ve met so many people and the stories they share about their veterans have us all in tears. The outcry for pins was shocking. I’ve done about 100. I’ve not had anyone who said they didn’t want any. I’ve done some outside of Richmond County.”
Each button/pin will be personalized with the name of the Veteran that you wish to honor. The pin is a way for you to show your pride in a Veteran or active duty service member on Election Day. These pins are being provided free of charge by the North Carolina State Board of Elections. You can request a personalized pin by emailing a request or printing out a request form and mailing it in. Those forms can be found on the website.
Special Projects Coordinator Carolos Casallas of the State Board of Elections said he has seen a decrease in the number of stories people choose to publish about the veteran they are honoring. He also said the pins can be worn in honor of active duty military personnel.
“We’ve gotten a lot of requests, but not as many stories,” said Casallas. “We’re happy to be able to honor veterans and active military.”
James Brice “J.B.” Carriker of Ellerbe said he will honor his uncle, Heath Carriker, who passed away Sunday. Carriker was a World War II B-24 bomber pilot, who flew 32 missions over Europe, according to an article about Carriker written two years ago in the Daily Journal.
At the time of the interview, Carriker was hoping to attend the Flight of Honor; a fully-sponsored trip to the Washington, D.C., memorial for World War II veterans.
“He wanted to go, but his doctor said it would be best not to, because of his health,” said his nephew J.B. Carriker.
Although Carriker didn’t get to go on the Flight of Honor, his nephew said he did attend an air show in Davidson County, where he was able to ride in a bomber with his wife.
“It tickled him to death,” said J.B. Carriker. “He got to go up one more time.”
According to his nephew, Heath Carriker grew up as the youngest of 12 children on a farm in Ellerbe. After high school he left for the war, and after the war he attended UNC Chapel Hill, and later received a masters degree from Duke University.
“He’s done a lot of things. He was a very educated man, he read a lot,” said J.B. Carriker. “We’ve got some WWII memorabilia we’re going to hold onto.”
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.