Community Heroes: Elizabethton military veteran ensuring fellow veterans aren’t forgotten

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ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) At a very young age, this community hero knew exactly where he was headed in life.

Elizabethton native, Deacon Bowers is this week’s community hero.

Military service runs deep in the family of Deacon Bowers.

“Well, I had five brothers in there. My daddy was in World War II. Back in those days, boys didn’t have much to do but join the military and I just wanted to go in from Day 1,” Deacon Bowers told Pheben Kassahun.

Eager to serve his country, Bowers enlisted at the young age of 12, joining the Tennessee National Guard in Elizabethton, but was kicked out due to being underage.

Bowers tried again at the age of 14 and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, but was later kicked out once it was learned that he was underage.

When he turned 15, Bowers enlisted in the United States Army and was sent to North Korea, in November 1952. His rank was an E2.

Bowers said, “25th Division, 35th Regiment North Korea 1952. I had my 16th birthday on the frontlines in North Korea. December the 5th, 1952.”

He recalled a night he would never forget:

“30 below zero sitting on the frontline where one side is the enemy and the other side is American. Combat patrol is what we did,” Bowers said.

Upon his return to the states, he wanted to ensure his fellow veterans were not forgotten and worked for the state as a representative for veterans.

Bowers said, “If it hadn’t been for the veterans, these veterans and every other veterans, you and I wouldn’t be enjoying the freedom that we’re enjoying today. That’s why that’s all I got on my mind is veterans and I love veterans.”

He was also part of a group that created memorials in carter county to honor veterans who passed, and those who are still living.

“We decided to build a war memorial from World War I to the present. Everybody who got killed from this county and city,” he said.

He is a proud American and proud to serve his fellow veterans.

“I just want the ones that did this to be recognized. for what they did,” Bowers said.

And that is why he’s our community hero.

Attached is an article written by Bob Robinson, a member of the Elizabethton-Carter County Veterans War Memorial Committee.

If you know someone who makes our community a better place to live, we want to hear from you! Nominate them to be an ABC Tri-Cities Community Hero! Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to nominate them.

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