East Carolina University recognized 40 veterans and military supporters today during its annual Veterans Day paver dedication.
Army ROTC cadet Jarquese Powell holds the United States flag before the Veterans Day ceremony Nov. 11 at ECU.
The Nov. 11 event brings the total number of pavers to nearly 200. The 6-by-9-inch bricks honor men and women who have served in the armed forces or who have supported the military in various ways.
"There are stories behind these bricks," said Dr. Jim Bearden,director of the BB&T Center for Leadership Development at ECU and an Army veteran. "There are many stories, and there are varied stories."
One is that of Maj. James F. Davenport Jr., a 1938 East Carolina Teachers College graduate who went from Greenville to the National Guard to the shores of Normandy in World War II.
"He was dedicated to ECTC," said his widow, Edith Davenport. "He really did love the Army."
She was joined at the event by their children, Martha Huggins and Jim Davenport III. Huggins said her father, who died in 2003, once had her cut out different bumper stickers to make one with the letters "ECTC" that he could put on his car.
Jim Davenport said that while his father did not participate in D-Day, he did cross the English Channel soon after and fought in the European theater.
The event was held at the Freedom Wall on the west side of Christenbury Gym, a campus site dedicated in 2011 to honor the military service of ECU faculty, staff and students. ROTC color guard presented the colors, and School of Music faculty member Perry Smith sang the national anthem.
Having a place on campus to honor service at ECU is important because the university has had a long and close relationship with the military and those who serve, said Dr. C. Steve Duncan, assistant vice chancellor of administration and finance and director of military programs.
The university started one of the nation's first Air Force ROTC programs in 1948 – one year after the U.S. Air Force was established.
Each paver costs $125 and raises funds for Army and Air Force ROTC student scholarships. It is sponsored by the ECU College of Health and Human Performance and Office of Military Programs.
For more information on ordering a paver, call 252-737-1812 or visit http://www.ecu.edu/cs-hhp/upload/11-192-Brick-Brochure.pdf.
Cadet Private James Killilea, left, and cadet private Patrick Zeller talk to ECU professor Dr. James Bearden, director of the BB&T Leadership Development Center and an Army veteran. Bearden was the featured speaker at the event.