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On Sunday morning, April 14, the Lord God called home Wilson County’s “veteran’s veteran,” Eddie M. Price. Or, as we veterans say, the Supreme Commander called Eddie to report to him.
In my heart, I know Eddie is with Jesus Christ and that I should be happy for that. Yet, I am not — I just can’t feel happy right now. Eddie was my veteran mentor, my big brother and a dear, dear friend. So great is the hurt I feel it’s as if I’ve lost a part of myself.
I know that the loss of Eddie is more than just mine; his dear, dear wife Ms. Evelyn, his precious daughter Debbie, all of his other children and grandchildren. “I can only imagine.” But it doesn’t end there. The tremendous loss of “Mr. Eddie” to the veterans of Wilson County, to Wilson County and to the city of Wilson will be felt for decades to come.
Having said all of this, it is not the reason for this letter. My reason is to first thank The Wilson Times for the wonderful front-page article published Monday, April 15, “WWII vet Eddie Price dies at 94.” This article truly helped to ease my pain, sadness and mourning of the loss of such a man. For this, I say thank you, Wilson Times, and thank you, city of Wilson.
I also want to thank the many veterans who showed their support and thankfulness for having known one such as Eddie. Thank you for visiting with and showing support to the family by attending the visitation, Eddie’s funeral, Eddie’s burial and for having participated in the graveside services.
Truly this was the first time that Wilson County Veteran Honor Guard personnel were calling me because they wanted to be part of a veteran’s honor guard — Eddie’s honor guard. God bless you all: bugler/taps Frederick (Freddy) Howell; rifle team, commander Michael Black, shooters Ray Chambers, Ed Costello, Ms. Joe-Seth Ruffin, Gregg Francois, Horace Goff, Charles Howell and James Nixon.
The flag-folders were provided by the North Carolina Army National Guard, both were of sergeant rank. Veteran pallbearers included James Faison, Ivory Faison and George Young; of the other three, one was actually an active-duty U.S. Marine. I didn’t get his name or the other two volunteers’ names. However, I say to every veteran in attendance and in participation that Ms. Evelyn, the family and myself thank you beyond words.
Most importantly, I thank God that I was blessed to have known one Mr. Eddie Price, and I’m sure Eddie is pleased with us all. It was he who trained most of us.
As commander of the Disabled American Veterans Chapter No. 8 and chairman of the city of Wilson Committee on Patriotism, both of which Eddie brought me into and mentored me, making it possible for me to be where I am today, this would be the time that I would tell you of all that Eddie did for these organizations. That would make this letter much too long, so I’ll simply say that Eddie M. Price was DAV Chapter 8 — up until about age 90, he was as if not more active than any member 26 or more years his junior.
At age 89, when the VA would no longer allow Eddie to drive veterans in the VA and DAV vans, he drove them in his personal van. Eddie’s leadership made Chapter 8 the veteran organization I’m so pleased to be a part of today.
As for the Committee on Patriotism, in 1982, Mayor Ralph El Ramey and the Wilson City Council appointed Eddie M. Price the first chairman of the newly created committee and the rest, as they say, is history.
In closing, I take the liberty of saying we veterans of Wilson County, veterans of the American Legion, the American Legion Riders, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the 40 & 8 and the Disabled American Veterans loved — no, we love — Eddie Price and we will miss him sorely.
Yet, veterans, we can see him again. Live the way he lived, treat your fellow veteran and fellow man the way he did and live the life that follows Jesus Christ the way Eddie did. God bless you all, and God bless the United States of America.
E. Ray Chambers