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3 incumbents, 2 new members elected to Barboursville council

Tatum

BARBOURSVILLE — Five members of the village of Barboursville's City Council were elected to four-year terms in a municipal election Tuesday, according to unofficial results from the Cabell County Clerk's Office.

The new council consists of the three incumbents who Tatum ran — Patrick Wagoner, who received 277 votes; Ann Stackpole Reed, who received 245 votes; and Donnie Plybon, who received 239 votes. Joyce Spencer and Larry Poynter did not seek reelection.

Two new members, Necia Thompson Freeman, who received 221 votes, and Charles "Charlie" Pennington, who received 214 votes, will join the village council to take the place of Spencer and Poynter.

"I hope I can do the job that is expected of me, and I'll give it my best," Pennington said.

The new administration will begin its tenure July 1.

Of the 2,338 registered voters in Barboursville, 468 ballots were cast in Tuesday's election, a 20.02% turnout.

Five candidates did not make the top five: Jimmy Beckett received 156 votes; Jerry Johnson received 151 votes; Philip Kincaid received 112 votes; Larry Brumfield received 111 votes; and Okey Bates received 96 votes.

Incumbents Mayor Chris Tatum and Recorder Paula Seay ran unopposed in the election and also will serve four-year terms. Tatum received 388 votes, while 14 votes went toward a write-in candidate. Seay received 398 votes, with one vote going toward a write-in candidate.

Tatum said he is glad the election is over so the administration can get back to focusing on the city's business. He said it is exciting that the three incumbents will return to their seats alongside two fresh faces.

"I think that both have the best interest of the village in mind," Tatum said of the new members. "It's exciting. I think they know momentum is with us as well."

Follow reporter Megan Osborne on Twitter and Facebook @megosborneHD.


Aging veterans recall D-Day invasion

ABOARD THE BOUDICCA IN THE ENGLISH CHANNEL — The veterans hobble along on canes and lean on walking frames now, slower and weaker than they were on D-Day, when they stormed the Normandy beaches with the fate of the free world resting on their shoulders. It's hard to imagine them as soldiers carrying rifles across their chests and 60-pound packs on their backs — until they start talking.

Then the scales of age fall way. They are all young men heading to France — a place most had never been.

"The noise was deafening," said former Royal Marine Les Budding, now 93. "The black smoke and the acrid smell of cordite, which was coming from the battleships firing the big shells. They are the outstanding things in my memory coming from that day."

Suddenly it's D-Day again. The soft-spoken Budding is once again an 18-year-old gunner — a baby-faced, pink-cheeked cherub who smiles from a war-time photograph in a dress uniform that looks like he borrowed it from his father. Budding said he just did what Marines are supposed to do. In his case that meant offering cover to other Marines storming beaches and moving forward. Keep going. Stay alive.

Budding got to Sword Beach just after the frogmen who went in early to defuse the mines and clear the way for the invasion.

He still remembers their heads bobbing in the sea.

"We were the first wave in at 7:25 in the morning," Budding said. "We were spot-on time as well."

For years, Budding and other veterans thought of the landings as events that were important to them, but forgotten by the rest of the world. But the 75th anniversary of D-Day has put their exploits back into the public eye.

As part of the commemorations, some 300 veterans are traveling back to France on a six-day cruise sponsored by the Royal British Legion, the U.K.'s largest veterans charity. They traveled to Dunkirk on Monday, remembering the evacuation of British forces after the fall of France in 1940. The veterans will be back in Portsmouth for Britain's main D-Day ceremony on Wednesday before sailing to Normandy for the anniversary of the landings on June 6.

The trip is meant as an act of appreciation from a grateful nation.

But it takes a team effort to help the old warriors make the trip back to France to commemorate events others might want to forget. They've come with younger friends, children and in some cases grandchildren — a strong companion to offer an elbow, or a quickly procured chair when aging joints get tired.

No one seems to be alone on this voyage.

Take the team of Budding and Philip Collins, 62, son of the late F.E. Collins of 45 Commando, who fought alongside Budding on D-Day.

Collins, you see, believes that Budding saved his father's life that day. Budding was a gunner on a "flak 34," a specially armed boat that defended F.E. Collins' landing craft as it hit the beach. He pauses at the notion he saved the life of Collins' father.