Rufus Geddie Herring called Roseboro home. As a successful businessman and civic leader, residents are speaking up, asking Herring receive the honor he so truly deserves.
According to Roland Hall, former Governor Jim Hunt bestowed an honor upon Herring in 1995, ordering the Roseboro Armory be dedicated in honor and appreciation of Herring, a native to the western town and veteran of World War II. A plaque acknowledging the honor was erected at the Armory, but Hall said he, as well as other residents of the town, have noticed the plaque is no longer displayed.
“Several people have noticed the sign is missing,” Hall shared with board members during Tuesday night’s meeting. “For nearly 15 years, that sign was on display at the Armory, and then it just hung sideways for a while. Now we have noticed that the sign is completely missing.”
Hall and fellow resident Jefferson Strickland appeared before the board, asking the board support their efforts in getting the sign back on display at the Roseboro Armory.
“Thank you for ensuring a Rufus G. Herring sign or marker, in recognition of and befitting his acts of bravery and services, is soon back on display in front of the Roseboro Armory,” a letter that has been addressed to the commander of the National Guard Armory read.
On Oct. 10, 1995, Hunt signed the order to dedicate the facility to Herring, who was a member of the U.S. Navy, a U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor recipient and a recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. Herring received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery and acts of courage while in command of a heavily damaged U.S. Navy landing craft and the many lives he saved during a 36-day battled for the island of Iwo Jima.
“Something has to be done,” Strickland shared. “Mr. Herring deserves this honor. Not only was he a veteran of World War II, but when he returned, he served the citizens of Roseboro as mayor from 1947-1950.”
Pointing to Herring’s picture on the wall of the town hall, Strickland said, “This man right here is who we are fighting for.”
In 1945, former president Harry S. Truman hung Herring’s Medal of Honor medallion around his neck, recognizing him for his dedicated service and bravery during a time when thousands of United States Armed Forces members died during the intense battle of Iwo Jima.
“Mr. Geddie Herring, a native son of Roseboro, is held in high esteem by the United States of America, the state of North Carolina, Sampson County and the town of Roseboro,” the letter reads.
After returning from the war, Herring became a successful businessman, served as mayor, as well as other civic, educational and community service positions. In 1999, Herring was inducted into the Sampson County Hall of Fame.
“To be honest with you, I didn’t know anything about this,” commissioner Ray Clark Fisher said, referring to the missing sign. “We need to make sure we get that back up and get Mr. Herring the recognition he deserves.”
The letter, which was drafted by Roseboro Mayor Alice Butler, along with Hall and Strickland, will be sent to Captain Michael Thomas, commander of the 881st Engineer Support Company in Rockingham.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.