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In Recognition of Joseph E. Ferrell, Veteran of World War II, the Korean Conflict, and Viet Nam

Joseph Ferrell and his friend walked from Cairo, Georgia to Albany, Georgia, a distance of about eighty miles, when Joe was sixteen in order to enlist in the U.S. Navy. "We were quite a sight. My friend was crippled and I was a scrawny farmboy." He was turned away with a laugh by the recruiters and told to come back only if his daddy signed for him. His father went with Joe this time. All his friends were gone and his father seemed to understand how Joe felt. That day Joe enlisted in the Navy. He was sent to the Great Lakes Training Center and experienced his first time of ever being far from home and ever traveling on a train. His sergeant mentioned the formation of the Seabees, new in World War II. "I didn't really know what they were, but it sounded like an adventure." Once again, Joe volunteered and was sent to California for training. He shipped out to the Pacific and began the island hopping, helping build bases. Unbeknownst to him, another sailor from Cairo was on Okinawa and also a Seabee. His name was Bobby Gandy. Mr. Gandy related the incident in which Mr. Joe was injured. Amunition was being loaded on an LST. The load doors were opened and for a reason never really known, a tremendous explosion ripped through the LST. Mr. Joe suffered head and leg injuries from the concussion of the explosion. He didn't complain much, but a few days later realized he was injured more than he realized. He was sent home. After a stay in the hospital, he received his discharge papers in Jacksonville, Florida. He didn't want to be discharged. He decided if the Navy didn't want him, he'd try the army. He was turned down at first again, but because his blood pressure was so high he went into a room at the recruiting office to lie down. The recruiters thought he was drunk because of the way he was acting. At the end of the day, they were one man short of the day's quoto, so "that old drunk in there" who really didn't pass the physical was taken into the army. Mr. Joe went through basic again. He never told them he had been in the Navy. No one asked. However, his flair to strut his stuff just seemed to flair up on the drill field and his commanding officer took Mr. Joe aside. From that day on, Mr. Joe "assisted" the instructor in making soldiers out of those recruits.

Mr. Joseph Ferrell Honored at Student Banquet

In September, 1999, Mr. Ferrel and his family journeyed to Lake City, Florida Veterans Administration Hospital. It wasn't the first time the Ferrells traveled this path. Mr. Ferrell having been award seven purple hearts in the three wars in which he served did not leave the war when he was discharged. He battled time and time again with his health, but also with the health of others. Mr. Ferrell dedicated his life to helping others, his main concern being assisting fellow veterans in their plight to receive the benefits they deserved. This journey was different. This time he and his family were informed that Mr. Ferrell had inoperable pancreatic cancer. He was given two months at the most to live. However, on November 10, 1999, Mr. Ferrell, now in a wheelchair and clad in his pajamas, kept a promise to attend that banquet, and he did. The students honored Mr. Ferrell with a special plaque which stated:

In special recognition of Joseph E. Ferrell, a veteran of World War II, Korea and Viet Nam, who is a great soldier, patriot, husband, father, humanitarian and citizen, from the students and citizens of Grady County.

Mr. Joseph E. Ferrell lived into the new year, the new century, the new millinium. He left his friends, family, and his country on January 26, 2000 at 1:30 a.m. in the arms of his son, Tim. The world is a better and safer place because of Joe Ferrell, and now Heaven will be also.