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WW II vet honored on 102nd birthday today

By Kay S. Pedrotti Rufus Durrah is one of only a handful of World War II veterans in Lamar County ‘“ this week he turns 102. A resident of Sunny Grove Assisted Living, Durrah will be the focus of a lunchtime celebration at the facility and a ‘parade’ through downtown Barnesville. Festivities begin at 11:30 at Sunny Grove, with the parade starting at 12:30-12:45, Thursday, Aug. 22, at E.P. Roberts Center on Mill Street. While the Sunny Grove residents are having their lunch, Durrah will be given ‘a military MRE (meals ready to eat) served in a World War II mess kit,’ said veteran Albert R. ‘Randy’ Martin, a Williamson resident who has been a prime organizer of the events. ’I just like to do whatever I can for veterans,’ Martin said. ‘Especially those who served in World War II like Mr. Durrah. We have two Army recruiters coming from Griffin, who will ask him whether he wants to return to the Army ‘“ he’s expected to raise his right hand and say he is still available if his country needs him.’ American Legion Commander Bill Palin and Barnesville-Lamar County fire chief Steve Andrews will give Durrah a flag that has flown over the Capitol. Barnesville Ingle’s has donated a birthday cake. Martin owns the WWII Jeep Durrah will ride in for the parade. Sheriff’s deputy Suzanne Cooper is organizing local businesses to line Main Street to cheer and wave to Durrah. Patrol Capt. David Knight will coordinate traffic control. Martin has arranged for Georgia’s elder legislator, 91-year-old John Yates of District 3, to present Durrah with a resolution thanking him for his service. County commission chairman Jay Matthews is expected to present a proclamation. The fire department will display a large flag on Main Street, and an honor guard from the high school Junior ROTC will march with Durrah. His daughter, Patsy Mann, and her family will be present. ’All veterans are encouraged to come to the celebration and meet Mr. Durrah,’ said Martin. Cooper added, ‘It would be awesome if Main Street could be packed with well-wishers for this fine veteran being honored in his home town.’

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