|The New York native and decorated veteran served in WWII|
Photo by Katie Shively:
Harry S. Coates Jr. of Callaway is presented with the Franklin County Patriot Award by Del. Charles Poindexter, left, and Rocky Mount Rotarian Rol Walters, right.
Friday, July 11, 2014
By EMILY WOOD - News-Post Intern
Harry S. Coates Jr. of Callaway is this year's Franklin County Patriot Award winner.
Del. Charles Poindexter presented Coates with a medal during the Rocky Mount Rotary Club's Independence Day Festival on July 3.
This is the 11th year that the club has recognized a county veteran at the festival.
Staff Sgt. Coates left his home in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Oct. 5, 1942, to join the U.S. Army. He served in the Signal Corps during World War II in the South Pacific Theater.
While in combat, Coates participated in six island landings, including the Battle for the Recapture of Corregidor on Feb. 16, 1945. Coates received Campaign Ribbons for the Liberation of the Philippines and Asiatic Pacific and medals for the American Campaign, World War II, and Good Conduct.
Coates served on active duty until Dec. 29, 1945. He returned to New York, where he worked at the New York Phone Company in Queens until he retired in 1978. He was commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 1310 in Merrick, N.Y., for three years.
Coates moved to Callaway in 1984 and was commander of the VFW Post 5862 in Rocky Mount for two years and president of the Rocky Mount Ruritan Club for three years. He was an elder at Piedmont Presbyterian Church for four terms and remains an active member.
Coates participates in the annual Memorial Day Celebration at the Franklin County Veterans' Memorial and is a member of the Franklin County Veteran's Memorial Commission.
Coates has been married to his wife, Theresalice, for 14 years. He lost his son, Paul, from Vietnam combat wounds at age 26. He has three other children, 20 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
Coates was selected for the Patriot Award by a committee of Rotary Club members, headed by veteran Rol Walters. He received a special Patriot Award medal with a personally engraved presentation case at the ceremony Thursday night, courtesy of Mike and Vanessa Carter of Carter's Fine Jewelry.