President Harry Truman giving Medal of Honor to Sgt. Bernard P. Bell

By Bob Weaver 2002

Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. Bernard Pius Bell returned in spirit to his native Calhoun this past year, the Grantsville bridge was named in his honor. Efforts had been underway to rename the Army Reserve Center at Big Bend to recognize his courageous World War II heroics, but there are indications the center may be closed.

Bell's sister, Lorena, lives in DeLand, Florida. She has been supportive of the efforts to return some of his effects to Calhoun County. She told The Hur Herald "My heart is in West Virginia."

Lorena just turned 86. "I was born on Hog Knob," she said. Celebrating her birthday, she said "I went to see the Mothman Prophecies movie, because it took place in Pt. Pleasant, where my family lived for many years."

She recently gave us an excellent copy of a photo of President Harry Truman giving Sgt. Bell the Medal of Honor, which we are donating to the local VFW Post.

She said he choked to death on a piece of meat, a tragic ending to his life. "He had a long term relationship with an English girl from the war for 25 years," she said, "but they never married."

Bell was described as small in stature and soft-spoken, taking care of his mother for many years.

Bell retired from a position with the Veteran's Administration.

His sister said "War does terrible things to people. Bernard had some demons."

SEE earlier stories in The Herald about Sgt. Bell, whose exploits and soldiering rose above the common call to duty.

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