On this Veterans Day, I've been thinking of the extraordinary men and women I've served with - two from Sumter recently passed away - Steve Guest and Sam Belin. Both were known for their love of patriotism and achieving maximum results from every military assignment undertaken. Both were known for their love of God, family, country and as volunteers in their community. One was white, the other black; one was Democrat, the other Republican; one was Catholic, the other Protestant. Both were invaluable members of their church, and both took on duties helping youth and devotional services. Both helped charitable organizations through personal donations and fundraisers.
Steve represented the S.C. State and Sumter Elks in providing benefits for local and Columbia VA Hospital veterans. In addition to state funds, he organized local turkey shoots. He supported the Shaw AFB Honor Guard by providing them special dinners and a number of bugles to use at ceremonial events. He organized local High School youth groups that provided games and gifts for patients at local nursing homes and Dorn Veterans Hospital. He also arranged for musical shows to appear at the veterans hospital.
Sam was well known for his assistance to the Shaw AFB Chiefs Group, his church, various veteran groups and the community. He was especially instrumental in teaching youth of his community about the American flag and what it stands for. He would accompany a group of young people to local cemeteries and help them lay flags on veteran graves while explaining what the flag stood for, why we show it respect and why we honor the military veterans that fought and died for it.
As charter members of the Sumter County veterans association, Steve and Sam helped organize many Sumter Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies, and cemetery flag-laying events. Steve was a past chairman, and Sam was a past vice chairman.
Today we honor the lives of both the living and the dead, not for who they are, but for what they stood for.
Sam and Steve, along with many others, stood for our people and our country.
HARRY I. BISHOP
Air Force Retired
Past Chairman, Sumter County Veterans Association