Polk County honors two late veterans

Published 10:38 pm Thursday, January 9, 2014

Polk County Commissioners paid tribute to two area veterans who recently passed away during their Jan. 6 meeting.

Commissioner chair Ted Owens recognized Fred Earl Foster, who died last week following an automobile accident that occurred on Dec. 31, 2013.

Foster was a member of the Polk County Honor Guard and retired from the U.S. Air Force. He served in both the Korea and Vietnam wars. Owens said Foster was a good friend of his and asked the audience to have a moment of silence in Foster’s honor.

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Foster, 80, passed away Jan. 3. He was retired from the U.S. Air Force after 20 years of service, worked as the Columbus Police Chief for several years and as a truck driver. He also served as a deacon for Coopers Gap Baptist Church.

The pledge of allegiance was conducted by chief deputy Mike Wheeler with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office in honor of Big John Crew, who also recently passed away.

Commissioner vice chair Michael Gage said Crew was a Marine, who served two tours of duty and was one of the best. Gage said as chairman last year he made it a point to seek out veterans to lead meetings for the pledge of allegiance. Crew did the pledge last March.

Crew made it clear to Gage that he would be happy to lead the county with the pledge, but wasn’t staying for the meeting.

Gage said the pledge is important because wherever a service man or woman is in the world the pledge is home.

“I will miss him,” Gage said. “I will miss Big John.”

The county also had a moment of silence for Crew before saying the pledge of allegiance in his honor.

Crew, 66, passed away Dec. 17. He was a Marine who served in Vietnam. He was decorated with two purple hearts and awarded a silver star.

He was a mechanic with Durham’s Automotive Service for many years.