08/17/05 — Veteran, teen honored for service

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Veteran, teen honored for service

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on August 17, 2005 1:48 PM

A recognition of the past and a celebration of the future converged Monday in the Wayne County Courthouse.

Kate Nichols, a rising senior at Charles B. Aycock, and George Bollin, a World War II prisoner of war, were both honored by Rep. Walter Jones.

"The first event is about the future, then about the remembrance of a man who served his nation in World War II," Jones said.

George W. Bollin died last September, but his family wanted his service record to be recognized, and wanted him to be remembered.

Jones said Bollin was captured by the Japanese during World War II and suffered during his 40 months of captivity.

Bollin was captured in Corregidor, after Gen. Wainwright surrendered. The Japanese then forced the men on a march to the north, where they were held at an air strip for several days with no food or water.

They were sent to a prison camp, then taken back to a "hell ship" in Manilla.

Mary Bollin said her husband weighed 198 pounds when he went in the service, and weighed 98 pounds when he came home.

Jones pinned the Bronze Star and the POW medal on the shirt lapel of Bollin's widow. He also presented her with a United States flag that had been flown over the U.S. Capitol in memory of her husband.

"Today his memory is honored," Jones said. "He exemplifies many of the serviceman of that era because they didn't worry about getting their medals. They just came back and got back to work in their community."

Family and friends gathered to see Miss Nichols receive her Congressional Gold Medal for her 400 hours of community service, and her more than 800 hours in areas including personal development, physical fitness and educational exploration opportunities.

"Kate Nichols exemplifies what Wayne County Public Schools is all about," Superintendent Dr. Steven Taylor said. "She has demonstrated her ability to set goals, to meet them and to challenge herself even further."

The daughter of Greg and Rhonda Nichols of Patetown has already received the bronze and silver medals.

Miss Nichols, who hopes to major in performing arts at New York University, has spent several summers working at the Pikeville Library.

"I worked with younger kids in a reading program," she said. "We also did arts and crafts and sang."

She also sang at various community functions, including an annual baseball clinic.

For personal development, she entered public speaking competitions.

"I've always had a fear of public speaking, so I made myself run for office for 'Skills, USA,'" she said.

Skills is part of a vocational educational program, and Miss Nichols became state president.

The Congressional Medal is for young people, between the ages of 14 and 23, who set and achieve personal goals in various areas.

Miss Nichols thanked her family, teachers and friends for helping her achieve her goals.