Mercer County Medal of Honor recipient to be honored locally

Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 10:44 AM EDT
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PRINCETON, W.Va. (WVVA) - A local politician plans to honor the only person from Mercer County to win a Congressional Medal of Honor during World War II.

Sergeant Junior Spurrier was born in Castlewood, Virginia before his family moved to Bluefield, West Virginia during the Great Depression.

During World War II, Spurrier served in the Pacific Theater for 31 months.

In November of 1944, he shipped out to the European Theater, where Spurrier fought Nazis in the French village of Achain all on his own. It earned him the highest honor that can be bestowed on a service member, rightfully so as Spurrier single-handedly saved that village on that day.

Tony Whitlow, founder, Mercer County War Museum, “He was a tremendous soldier. They called him the one-man army, one a day man. He just was a soldier’s soldier.”

Now Sergeant Spurrier is featured at the Mercer County War Museum.

He was honored for his heroism back in the day, Whitlow said, “After he come home from service, they had this big deal in Bluefield with him. They gave him $5,000 back in 1945, which was a big chunk of money.”

But as Whitlow tells it, he was not one to bask in the glory.

Whitlow said, “They had him come out and he said, ‘Hey folks, thanks a lot,’ and that’s it.”

Despite Spurrier’s humble demeanor, political leaders hope to preserve his memory and his heroism through a bridge dedication.

Del. Marty Gearhart (R - Majority Whip) said, “I think it’s important when you go by to know that it was somebody that lived in that area that really, really contributed to who we are and what we want to be.”

The bridge in question can be found on I-77 between Bluefield and Princeton in Mercer County, and a resolution to rename it cleared the House but didn’t make it through the state Senate in this year’s session.

Gearhart says he will use his position as the House’s Majority Whip to get Sergeant Spurrier the recognition he deserves.

Gearhart said, “I have no doubt it’ll get passed, and we’ll be able to get that bridge named.”

So, Mercer County’s only Congressional Medal of Honor recipient’s legacy will live on in his home county.