KING — Hershell Bunker’s Army Air Corp unit paved the way for an invasion of Sicily in 1943, but his service didn’t end with an allied victory in the Second World War.
Bunker was a crew member aboard a B-24 bomber, and returned home to North Carolina after his time spent in the Army Air Corps. Then, with his service to country behind him, Bunker chose to serve his community.
In a small gathering at Priddy Manor Assited Living Center in King, where the veteran now resides, local members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Pilot Mountain Ruritans and members of Whitaker Chapel honored Bunker for all of his work in the community and in service to the country.
Bunker was presented with plaques as a testament to the various groups’ appreciation for Bunker’s work.
According to Pilot Mountain VFW Post 9436 quartermaster Bill Cook, Bunker became a member of the Ronda Ruritan Club in 1954. Two years later, he moved to Pilot Mountain and joined the local Ruritan Club. He served in the two Ruritan clubs for a combined 62 years.
Bunker didn’t stop at his involvement in the Ruritan group. He became a life-member of the VFW later on. Cook noted the WWII veteran joined the post in 1993.
Immediately, Bunker set his attention toward serving fellow veterans, joining the honor guard for VFW District 11.
As a part of the district honor guard, Bunker travelled throughout northwest North Carolina to ensure veterans were properly honored as they were laid to rest.
The faces in the VFW honor guard then started to change. According to Cook, the Pilot Mountain post eventually formed its own honor guard. When the post lacked available members to perform services, it combined its honor guard with that of Mount Airy Post 2019. Throughout it all, Bunker remained a staple of the organization.
Cook stated about 15 members of both VFW posts attended the brief ceremony. About ten members of the Ruritan club were also present.
Cook’s wife, Ethelene, and Bunker’s son, Wendel, were also there for the presentation, which included refreshments.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.