invisible hit counter
Official working to honor couple
Sgt. Major Gary Beaver experienced a dilemma two years ago after the death of his father, Clyde Beaver, a Korean War veteran.

Beaver, operations sergeant major at the JIEDDO Counter-IED Operations/Intelligence Integration Center in Washington, D.C., said his mother, Willa Dean Beaver, began experiencing health problems after his father's death.

"I was in the critical time just prior to departure where I could not leave my unit to help my mother move from our old house to her new apartment," he said. "Further, the new apartment came unfurnished. There was no one else available to assist, and I was in a real predicament."

Beaver contacted old family friends, Dave and Gloria Ritter of St. Simons Island and explained his problem.

The Ritters helped his mother shop for furniture, took her to medical appointments and the Veteran's Affairs office for help to apply for veteran's assistance.

They also helped prepare his mother's house for sale and put it on the market in June 2012.

"The Ritters spent a considerable amount of time helping to clean and paint the house to get it ready for sale," he said. "They helped my mother facilitate setting up her new apartment and obtaining dishes, sheets, towels and all the other basics she would need. They did all this without any request for reimbursement for their services."

Beaver said there is no way he can ever repay the Ritters for their help, but he is working on it.

"They are very patriotic Americans, and the fact that I was unable to assist my mother due to deployment was all they needed to hear," he said. "I feel that what Dave and Gloria Ritter did to help me and my mother when we really needed the help was above and beyond what is expected."

State Rep. Jeff Chapman, R-Brunswick, agrees. After he learned how the Ritters helped a man who has served his country for 25 years, Chapman said he agreed to help Beaver show his appreciation to the Ritters.

"I'm working on honoring them with a resolution," he said. "We'll submit it next week. The (state) House will vote on it and it will be part of the permanent record."

Chapman said there was no hesitation when Beaver asked if there was any special recognition the state could provide to the Ritters.

"We are pleased we have folks who care about others," he said.

Beaver said the help enabled him to concentrate on his military duties.

"I am forever indebted to them for this help. They represent the very best of our community and state."

* Reporter Gordon Jackson writes about Camden County and other local topics. Contact him at, on Facebook or at 464-7655.

View Full Site