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In Seaside, Pearl Harbor survivor provides message of ‘humility’

Legion to present dinner for homeless, veterans
By R.J. Marx

The Daily Astorian

Published on December 13, 2017 12:01AM

Last changed on December 13, 2017 10:09AM

Colin Murphey/eO Media Group
Spurgeon Keeth, center, visits with people at a ceremony at the Seaside Civic and Convention Center to honor the 76th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Keeth is the last living Clatsop County survivor of the attack.

Colin Murphey/eO Media Group Spurgeon Keeth, center, visits with people at a ceremony at the Seaside Civic and Convention Center to honor the 76th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Keeth is the last living Clatsop County survivor of the attack.

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For members of the Seaside American Legion Post 99, Pearl Harbor Day has special significance. “It means everything,” the post’s Kim Wright said.

The presence of Clatsop County’s remaining Pearl Harbor survivor, Spurgeon D. Keeth, held special meaning for those who gathered in Seaside on Dec. 7. “This is our only survivor in Clatsop County,” Wright said. “Unfortunately we lost Bill Thomas.”

Seaside’s Thomas, 95, who was a sailor in the U.S. Navy and stationed on the USS Medusa, died one year ago.

“We hate losing anyone,” Jeannie Petermann, the chaplain of the legion post, said. “It’s just part of life. But you’ve got to remember them. That’s what the legion does.”

Velva Bradish, who provided assistance to the 92-year-old Keeth, met him at Camp Rilea, where she works in the restaurant. “We heard Spurgeon likes to be around military guys,” Bradish said. “They love him. They crowd around him. They feed him. They shake his hand. They sing to him.”

What is the message they receive from Keeth?

“To be humble,” Bradish replied.

The legion post presents a dinner for veterans and homeless on Dec. 23.



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