BELL'S HEROISM RETURNS TO CALHOUN TODAY - Grantsville Bridge Named In His Honor

(11/09/2001)

By Bob Weaver

PART THREE

Today, the memory of a native son comes home to Calhoun County. Sgt. Bernard Pius Bell, whose life became more rooted in Mason County where he spent his adult life, is a genuine hero who crashed through the barrier of fear and accomplished more for his cause than most can ever imagine. His World War II bravery was awarded with a Congressional Medal of Honor. He became one of WWII's most decorated soldiers. See Uncommon Deeds

The Grantsville bridge is being named "Bernard P. Bell Memorial Bridge" at 4 p.m. today, November 9. VFW Commander of Post 5959 Paul Whytsell is encouraging everyone to take a few minutes of their day and attend the ceremony, which will be followed by the Second Annual Veteran's Appreciation Day at the Senior Center.

Born in Calhoun County at Henrietta in 1911, the son of Perry Paris and Lora Roberts Bell, he shortly moved with his family to Point Pleasant, West Virginia, where he graduated from Point Pleasant High School in 1929. Among his other Calhoun ancestors, grandparents William Edgar and Rachel Rebecca Ferrell Bell and George H. and Vashti Wilt Roberts. Great-grandparents are Samuel and Susan Stevens Bell, Hiram and Matilda Knight Ferrell, Tunis and Keziah Roberts and Mary Wilt.

Entering the Army in 1942, he took part in the African Landing at Oran, Algeria and was involved in the African campaign, the Salerno landing and the Italian campaign.

Beyond the description of his heroic efforts, see heroic combat deeds , that earned him the Medal of Honor, after the landing of General Patton's 7th Army on the shore of southern France, Bell was captured by the Germans near Lyons, and while being transported on a prisoner of was captured by the Germans near Lyons, and while being transported on a prisoner of war train, he escaped by leaping from a train car. French underground channels helped him return to his company in thirty days after his capture.

Efforts by the local VFW Post to have the new Army Reserve Center at Big Bend named after Bell have been stuck for over a year.


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