News: USO of NC salute to Freedom Gala honors NC military including guard soldier
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Robert Jordan
RALEIGH, N.C. - Corporate and civic leaders, senior military officers, media and entertainers, friends and supporters of the military gathered at the USO of North Carolina ninth annual Salute to Freedom Gala at the Raleigh Convention Center here, Oct. 19, 2013.
They honored N.C. National Guard’s Army Staff Sgt. Edgar T. Bowers and five other North Carolina military members from all of the branches for their selfless acts of service to their fellow warriors and the citizens of our nation.
“It was very humbling and overwhelming, it is a whole new experience for me and my wife,” said Bowers.
Bowers earned recognition for his lifesaving efforts as part of the helo-aquatic rescue team. Bowers, fellow NCNG aircrew and civilian first responders flew a mission July 2012 to Linville Gorge. A hiker fell in the rugged mountains suffering several broken bones, head injury and was dehydrated from the 100-degree summer heat. A search team found the hiker but facing an eight-hour hike over difficult terrain the call went out for a helicopter evacuation.
“I love my job and I am very happy to do what no one else in North Carolina can with civilian agencies,” said Bowers.
Bowers, a full-time mechanic and crew chief at the NCNG’s flight facility in Salisbury admitted a celebration with a Marine general, singing star, dancers, musicians and even an acrobat serving champagne was a bit out of his element.
"That part is a little nerve wracking, my wife is a very classy lady and she was there for me and kept me calm through the event,” said Bowers. “She is my rock.”
The gala brings the business community together and thanks them for their support of the USO and their mission to be there for the troops.