Bill aims to name postal facility for vet

Friday, March 26, 2004

A new name for a Cape Girardeau postal facility is being proposed to honor a local veteran whose name is already attached to buildings across the country.

U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo., introduced legislation in the House of Representatives Thursday that would rename the U.S. Postal Service Processing and Distribution Facility at 475 Kell Farm Drive to the Richard G. Wilson Processing and Distribution Facility.

Wilson was born in Cape Girardeau, attending Central High School before joining the U.S. Army. As a medic in the Army's 187th regimental combat team of the 101st Airborne, he didn't carry a gun. He was killed in the Korean War when he was 19 trying to save a fellow soldier's life near Opari, Korea, on Oct. 21,1950, and was awarded the congressional Medal of Honor posthumously.

Anthony G. Carroll, a retired Navy veteran who lives in Farmington, never knew Wilson. Still, Carroll collected 800 signatures in a petition over the last two years, 121 of them from Missouri state legislators, to rename the facility for Wilson.

It's only fitting that a federal building in Cape Girardeau be named for a Congressional Medal of Honor winner who grew up here, said Carroll, who works at the postal facility.

Ron Wilson of Cape Girardeau was only 4 when his brother left home and 7 when he died. His memories are few, but he grew up with stories of his brother's bravery.

"I always told everyone they have all these pictures on their wall, but Richard probably has more worldwide recognition than anybody ever from Cape Girardeau," he said.

Richard Wilson's name appears on the main medical dispensary at Fort Leonard Wood, on the main base theater in Fort Campbell, Ky., on the Army Reserve Center with two other veterans in Marion, Ill., on an elementary school in Fort Benning, Ga., and on the medical training facility for the entire Army at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

Wilson's mother, Alice, lives in a nursing home in Cape Girardeau.

It will take approval from the House and Senate, and the signature of President Bush, to put Wilson's name on the postal distribution facility building.

"I'm just trying to honor the memory of a fallen soldier who gave his life for his country and his fellow comrades," Carroll said. "I don't want him to be forgotten."

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