Triad Legionnaire Remembered For Friendship, Service to Veterans

LEXINGTON, N.C. -- Jerry Hedrick's friends say he loved his country, and he sure did loved baseball. As a retired mail carrier, he knew everyone's address in Lexington. He was a giant of a man who was dedicated to serving veterans and loving his wife.

"We're still serving America, that's what our motto is. And that's what Jerry did. Every day," said Frank Stancil, Department Adjutant, The American Legion, Department of North Carolina.

If the crowd at his funeral doesn't tell you what kind of man Jerry Hedrick was, maybe the license plates will. Colorado, Florida and Massachusetts - Hedrick made friends all across the country through his leadership in the American Legion.

He kept them because he was just, "a remarkable man."

The Flag flies at half-staff at American Legion Post Number 8 in Lexington where Hedrick served as Commander for more than a decade. His right-hand man, Jim Lippard, says Hedrick made time for everyone.

"He would take people, homeless people, veterans, take them over to the VA, sign them up, get them in so they could see doctors. He did that all the time, not a lot of people know that."

Hedrick joined the Army when he was 19-years-old. He served in Vietnam and came home to work as a mail carrier for the United States Postal Service. His service continued in the American Legion, serving most recently as National Executive Committee Member.

He died on Monday in Charlotte at the national convention he was responsible for bringing back to North Carolina.

READ:President Obama Speaks at American Legion Convention in Charlotte

On Tuesday, moments after he took the stage, President Barack Obama paused to remember Hedrick.

"Let me say that I join you in honoring the memory of a friend to many of you -- an Army veteran and a great Legionnaire from North Carolina, Jerry Hedrick," the president said.

"That's what kind of impact he has. I'm serious. Just unbelievable. We have really lost a giant," said Adjutant Stancil.

Lippard added, "I just don't have enough words to say how good he was. I just loved him to death."

Hedrick was also responsible for helping to make Shelby, North Carolina the home for the American Legion World Series. The Legion is planning on naming an award in his honor to present to an exemplary player each year.

Hedrick will be laid to rest with full military honors at the Salisbury National Cemetery on Friday morning.


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