Bernard Wilson - US Army Veteran - WWII (Posthumous)
Bernard Wilson’s life was characterized by service. This service was exemplified through his untiring commitments to God, country, and his fellow citizen. A humble man, through humble beginnings, volunteered to serve his country as a teenager in WWII, flying combat missions in the Pacific.
His patriotism did not end with his active duty service. For over 50 years, he served the Boy Scouts of America to shape and mature young men in the values which made our nation great. He was an untiring leader for the American Legion and VFW, serving these
communities and organizations for close to 60 years. He never forgot to honor those who served our country and those who paid the ultimate price for freedom. His leadership in documenting veteran experiences for future generations to see, remember, and not forget is unparalleled for someone living in a small, most rural community.
He served his fellow veteran for close to 30 years first as Madison County Veterans’ Service Officer and then later as someone with the knowledge and know-how to help veterans navigate through bureaucratic processes for much deserved and needed benefits. Through the years, his selfless efforts brought recognition from elected officials as well as the respect of his neighbors, family, and friends. Bernard Wilson’s lifetime efforts were unwavering and impact lasting: he lived for service to God, country, state, local community, and fellow man.
Education and Training Accomplishments:
- 1944 June Graduation from Bainbridge GA High School
- 1949 June Graduation from Middle Georgia College in Cochran Georgia
- 1950 – 1951 Student, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, coursework in Engineering.
- 1960 Sept FLORIDA POWER CORP.-SATISFACTORY COMPLETES PUBLIC SPEAKING COURSE
- 1961 Oct CIVIL DEFENSE ASSOCIATION-COMPLETES PERSONAL SURVIVAL IN DISASTER TRAINING
- 1965 FLORIDA POWER CORP.-SAFETY CERTIFICATE FOR 13 YEARS SAFETY
- 1966 FLORIDA STATE FIRE COLLEGE CERTIFICATE-COMPLETION OF PROGRAM
- 1968 NFJC-INSTRUCTOR OF AUTO MECHANICS-FOUR YEARS
- 1979 FLORIDA POWER CORP.-COMPLETES “MANAGEMENT AND MOTIVATION” PROGRAM
- 1981 FLORIDA POWER CORP.-COMPLETES “INTERACTION MANAGEMENT PROGRAM”
- 1988 EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT INSTITUTE-NUCLEAR CRISIS PREPARATION
Professional and Employment History:
- Early 1940’s Worked as dishwasher in Bainbridge GA restaurant, he was washing dishes listening to the radio when he heard that the USA had been attacked at Pearl Harbor.
- 1942-46 Enlisted at the age of 17, entered active duty at 18. US Army Air Corps – flew 14 combat missions over Japan in B-29 as a gunner. Separated from active duty on 26 Mar 46. Attained rank of Staff Sergeant.
- Feb 47-June 47 Southeastern Pipeline Company-Bainbridge GA
- June 49-November 50 Gainesville Laundry-part time work while a student at University of Florida
- 1951-55: Entry lineman with Georgia Power & Light – transferred to Florida Power Corporation.
- 1955-62: District sales: Florida Power Corporation
- 1962-88: District Manager (Crawfordville, Madison), Florida Power Corporation
Advocacy on behalf of Veterans:
- Initiated, planned, organized, and implemented numerous veterans’ related activities – events recorded and documented in NFCC library, Madison, FL.
- Personally acquired for Madison County, the flag of all fifty states which fly on the county courthouse grounds during parades and patriotic events/dates.
- Served and assisted veterans to acquire VA benefits for over 50 years.
- BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA – 50+ years of service to Boy Scouts of America. – Youth member. Adult leader; Silver Beaver (second highest BSA adult leader award) honoree; District Commissioner
Years after all of his children were grown, married and moved away, I asked Dad why he continued his activity in the Boy Scouts. His response was typical BERNARD WILSON: “It’s the only organization I know that teaches boys the love of GOD and COUNTRY.”
TODAY’S COMMUNITY CHAMPION Bernard Wilson:
Boy Scout volunteer Bernard Wilson, 75, is originally from Bainbridge and moved to Madison, Fla. in 1965. He and his wife. Betty Jane, have been married about 55 years and have four children and five grandchildren.
Wilson is a staunch supporter of the Boy Scouts of America and his history with the Boy Scouts goes back to 1937 when he was member of Troop 502 in Bainbridge. According to Wilson, the troop is still sponsored by the Bainbridge Rotary Club. Wilson be came involved with the Boy Scouts in 1951 and received the “Silver Beaver” award in 1963. Wilson said the Silver Beaver is the second highest award that can be given to an adult. He is also the Aucilla District Commissioner for the Boy Scouts of America falling un der the Suwannee River Area Council. He also writes articles for the Madison County Carrier in Madison concerning veterans and veterans affairs. He continuously devotes his efforts to remind Madison’s citizens of the sacrifice and duty accomplished by the men and women who have served and continue to serve this country. Wilson has also been a commissioner for the city of Madison and served as the Mayor for Madison. In addition, he worked with the Veterans Affairs for seven years. He believes strongly in the ef fect that scouting has on American youth. “It’s the only organiza tion I know that teaches love of God and Country” Wilson said.
Awards and Honors:
- GOVERNORS APPRECIATION AWARD-GOVERNOR FARRIS BRYANT 1962
- SILVER BEAVER AWARD-BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA The Silver Beaver Award is one of the highest honors the Boy Scouts of America awards to adult Scouters.
- 1966-Wakulla Chamber of Commerce enter a resolution into the minutes thanking Wilson for his service and wishing him good luck as he moves to Madison FL. (Dated 29 Sep 66)
- 1995-Receives Five Year Certificate for contributions to the Selective Service System.
- 1996-Honored with Certificate of Appreciation by Legion Post 224 of Cherry Lake on Memorial Day.
- 2000-Receives Ten Year Certificate for contributions to the Selective Service System.
- 2000-State Flag is flown over the State Capital on 4 April in honor of Wilson.
- 2002-DAR – San Pedro Chapter – “Excellence in Community Service Award.”