By Joseph McCain
The Winston County Journal
Six Mississippi students will have $1,000 in help with college expenses after receiving a newly created scholarship.
Members and associate members of the Mississippi Chapter of the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge created the newly minted scholarships. The six recipients are all descendants of Mississippi veterans of the World War II Battle of the Bulge and are Mississippi residents.
“This will help six worthy young people and continue the memories of those who served,” said James Hunt, Chairman of the Scholarship Committee.
The Battle of the Bulge group formed the scholarship committee to ‘clear out’ about $1,000 of funds in the Chapter’s treasury and to create something positive for the future. Hunt and the other committee members (Burton Fuller, Mary Ellen Stanley, Mary Fuller, Jane Hunt, James Hunt, Joan Rhett, Sarah Naugher, Fred Wicker and Dr. Robert Gilbert) also contacted members and others about raising funds for the scholarships. The group raised over $3,000 but had 6 applicants.
“We had six outstanding applicants so we contacted everyone again and told them to give until it hurts,” said Hunt.
The group raised funds enough for six $1,000 scholarships for this year and another $3,000 for future scholarships.
“We can grow this scholarship program and help a lot of deserving students,” said Hunt.
Hunt and the committee created the scholarship applications and program from scratch.
“Mississippi was the first chapter to offer scholarships,” said Hunt. “When we contacted the National Battle of the Bulge organization, they noted we were the first to do this and now at least one other chapter is making plans to create scholarships in their state.”
Hunt noted that the members and associate members of the group should be “kicking back on the porch” yet continue to work hard on such plans like the scholarship since they are concerned about the leaders of tomorrow.
“We have a committee member over 100, three in their 90’s and few in their 80’s who worked hard on this because they want to help our future leaders,” said Hunt.
The six awarded scholarships were: Margaret Grace Lyon, William Young, Caitlin Fournier, Carley Naugher, Christine Lemmerman, and Ryan Fournier.
Everyone in the Mississippi Chapter of the Battle of the Bulge understands leadership and sacrifice.
The scholarships were awarded during the groups annual meeting at Lake Tiak O’Khata in Louisville, Mississippi on October 15. The group has about 10 members who still attend and fought during the Battle of the Bulge with about 20 associate members who are family members or friends of the Battle of the Bulge veterans.
During the gathering, the veterans spoke about the war and talked about their service. Family members also talked about those who have died and their service during the war.
“These guys have been through so much and never talked about it,” said Hunt. “This group was one of the first places they were comfortable enough to talk about the war.”
Hunt described his own nightmares from the Battle of the Bulge, which haunted him until he was 66 years of age.
“The nightmares finally stopped when I turned 66,” said Hunt.
Other members talked about the difficulties of digging a foxhole in the frozen German ground and the unbelievable cold during the battle.
The idea of service to country and to others forged on the battlefield in Ardennes continues today as the group awards and looks to award future leaders with a scholarship and a reminder of those who came before them.
The Battle of the Bulge
On December 16, 1944 three German armies (more than a quarter-million troops) launched the deadliest and most desperate battle of the war heavily forested Ardennes trying to split the allied armies and destroy the American forces in the area. History denotes that the gallantry of the American troops in the battle stopped the German advance and helped bring the war to a close. The Battle of the Bulge was the costliest action ever fought by the U.S. Army, which suffered over 100,000 casualties.