POMEROY, Ohio — A Pomeroy, Ohio veteran was recently presented the Distinguished Service Award by Commander Ronie Wheeler of the Stewart-Johnson V.F.W. Post 9926 of Mason, W.Va.
Retired Sergeant Major Robert “Bob” Matthews, Jr., United States Marine Corps, was recognized for his work in establishing the military museum at the West Virginia State Farm Museum on Fairground Road near Point Pleasant.
The 92-year-old, formerly of Point Pleasant, W.Va., established the military museum in 1999. According to farm museum employees, he still comes to the museum at least three days a week and maintains the military display.
The military museum, according to Matthews, deserves a place at the farm museum because in war times throughout the years, farmers left their farms and families behind to fight for our country.
Uniforms covering all branches of service are included in the display, as well as other artifacts, photos, patches, guns, shells, flags and other memorabilia. Matthews said some of the uniforms are his own and some have been donated, while others were purchased at yard sales. He has devoted much of his personal time and money to the project.
One of the more notable veterans, whose photo is displayed on the museum wall, is Mason County native and World War II veteran Sergeant Bernard P. Bell. Sgt. Bell’s citations included the Congressional Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star with cluster, and Bronze Star. These medals are on display at the Mason County Library in Point Pleasant.
Matthews is a World War II, Korean, and Viet Nam veteran. He is the recipient of the Silver Star and Purple Heart, having been wounded in Viet Nam.
A 55-year volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America, prior to establishing the military museum, he took his scout troop to various cemeteries to find military graves. They then cleaned and restored the headstones of those veterans. The scouts also help Matthews build the military display at the farm museum.
The public can view the military museum daily except Mondays, when the farm museum is closed. The museum will close for the winter on Nov. 15.
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Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.