Remembering a comrade

Published 1:32 am Wednesday, April 26, 2006

By By Lee “Lavan” Martin
Veterans of Atmore VFW Post 7016, Veterans of Foreign Wars, were privileged to serve as honorary pallbearers for their comrade Curtis E. Purvis who passed away April 13, 2006.
Curtis was a stanch supporter of veterans and a devoted life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.Prior to illness he was active at all post meetings and activities, and a participant at post ceremonies conducted throughout the Atmore community. when the post purchases and established our first post fellowship and memorial hall, Curtis was the first member to respond and contribute financially to our fund drive. He will always be remembered for his personal dedication and devotion to his fellow comrades.
Curtis was born on March 4, 1926 on the Alabama side of the Alabama/Florida border in the Salem community located between Atmore and Bratt. Influenced by his brothers who were already serving in the military and his father who was Atmore police chief, coupled with his teenage eagerness to become involved in World War II, he left Escambia County High School in his junior year and joined the US Navy on April 22, 1943.
Following his military/medical training, Curtis was assigned to the US Navy Hospital in Corona, Calif., as a pharmacist mate until his subsequent departure to the South Pacific for duty as a Navy corpsman. He eventually was assigned to the US Navy Hospital on the Island Guam treating the war wounded from such battles as Iwo Jima where he remained assigned until his discharge on Dec. 24, 1945 at New Orleans and the eventual return to Atmore.
Upon his return to Atmore, Curtis joined the Navy reserves and the Army National Guard unit in Atmore, completed his GED requirements for a high school diploma and employment at the Atmore Post Office, and finally his marriage to Sarah M. Coker.
Curtis was with the Atmore National Guard unit when it was called to active duty on Aug. 26, 1950 as a result of the Korean War. Because of his Navy rating and experience, however, Curtis returned to active duty with the US Navy with an assignment to the US Navy Hospital at Vallejo, Calif. where he served until his second discharge on Sept. 22, 1952.
After his second discharge from the Navy, Curtis again returned o Atmore and his work at the Atmore Post Office where he worked for 37 years until retirement on Jan. 1, 1987. Many of us remember Curtis more for his work at the Post Office than his military service. he was most proud of his 40 years of public service. He always spoke fondly of two visitors he had from Atmore, Robert Maxwell and James Forte, as they passed through California en route to the South Pacific.
There's something else Curtis remembered and often recited, his corpsmen's pledge: "I dedicated my heart, mind and strength to the work before me. I shall do all within my power to show in myself and example of all that is honorable and good throughout my naval career." I am confident that Curtis lived by this pledge until his death.
Farewell comrade, and may God continue to be with you.
Lee "Lavan" Martin is commander of the Atmore Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7016.

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