The issue: A Brownwood-born Medal of Honor winner went unnoticed for decades.
The impact: The Central Texas Veterans' Memorial committee wants to rectify that.
Of the millions who have served in America’s military through the years, only 3,517 have received the nation’s highest personal decoration — the Medal of Honor.
It’s statistically unlikely that any small city will have a Medal of Honor winner of its own. But the board of the Central Texas Veterans’ Memorial recently discovered that Brownwood does, in fact, boast a Medal of Honor recipient, and they’ve devised a new way to honor him and others like him who went above and beyond the call of duty.
George M. Shelton was born in Brownwood on Dec. 23, 1877 to Amos and Octavia Shelton. Private Shelton was a member of Company I of the Twenty-third United States Infantry when he earned his distinction on April 26, 1900. Under heavy enemy fire, Shelton advanced alone and rescued a wounded comrade on a Philippine island during the Philippine Insurrection.
Shelton died in 1949 and is buried in San Francisco.
Harold Stieber, president of the Central Texas Veterans’ Memorial, said the organization will install a stone marker for Shelton at the memorial site. “It will simulate what they have in the national cemeteries,” Stieber said. “He’s the second Texan ever to be awarded the Medal of Honor.”
In addition to the stone monument, the memorial is also planning a new walkway to lead back to the American Legion building near the park. The walkway will highlight commended military personnel like Shelton and like John A. Moore, the Brownwood native and Naval Commander who earned three Navy Crosses during World War II.
Moore distinguished himself serving in submarines during the war and is credited with sinking more than 100,000 tons of Japanese shipping in one month alone in 1944. Moore went missing on patrol on March 28, 1944.
In 1981 the USS John A. Moore frigate was commissioned in his honor.
Board member Tom Gray said Shelton and Moore will inaugurate the walkway. “We’re going to initiate fundraising soon for this project,” he said. Gray said information on donating for the walkway will be available soon at Citizens Bank and other local financial institutions.
The Central Texas Veterans’ Memorial has undergone many changes and improvements in the past year, and Stieber expressed his gratitude for the individuals and businesses who have helped make the park successful. He thanked David Withers, Artie Ragland and Brian Frerichs with the City of Brownwood for assisting.
Stieber also thanked Ingram Concrete, Kelcy & Son Paving and Michael Smith and Leo Tulcus of Sign & Crane Service for helping with the recent installation of flag poles and parking lot paving at the memorial.
And Stieber and Gray thanked former Brownwood city councilman Pat Coursey for telling them about Shelton and Moore. Because they enlisted elsewhere, their names were lost to the memorial board through the years. But Stieber said he’s excited to have the opportunity to properly honor these two Brownwood heroes.