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Tree memorializes decorated WWII veteran Elgin Barnes

Memorial marker at the foot of the tree.

Memorial marker at the foot of the tree.

The Baker County Historical Society dedicated the live oak tree that welcomes visitors to the society headquarters on McIver Street to the late World War II veteran Elgin Barnes last month.

Mr. Barnes served in the Army’s 79th Infantry Division that landed in Normandy, France on June 11, 1944. He was wounded in battle about a month later at age 19.

“The family and I are thankful Elgin was the man he was that others remember him with words and monuments,” his widow Dorothy Mobley Barnes said after the dedication.

“The historical society has been and remains a large part of the Barnes family’s life and Baker County. The tree is a rather young oak, as oaks go, that will give beauty and shade for all who have eyes to see,” she said.

Mr. Barnes received the Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals as well as the French Legion of Medal of Honor just a few years ago.

He died in 2011 at 85 years old.

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Youth chops hair for Locks of Love charity

Hailey Hodgson with her hair donation. Photo courtesy of Rachel Hodgson.

Hailey Hodgson with her hair donation. Photo courtesy of Rachel Hodgson.

Hailey Hodgson, 10, of Glen St. Mary decided to cut off 10-plus inches of her silky brunette locks for charity last weekend.

“She just wants to help other little girls feel pretty and if giving her hair does it, she’s willing to give it,” said her mother, Rachel Hodgson. “She is already excited to do it again.”

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Illusionist entertains children at summer reading program

The Great Loudini.

Children’s illusionist Louie Mabrey (left), also known as the Great Loudini, entertained and educated a large group of children at the Woman’s Club the morning of June 25 with tricks, word games and comedy as part of the Emily Taber Library’s summer reading program.

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Veterans assist one of their own with second vehicle donation

Disabled Navy veteran Richard Mahler of Glen St. Mary was handed the keys to a used 2002 Buick Regal last week courtesy of the Baker County Veterans Council.

The council is a non-profit group dedicated to helping veterans in need. The Buick is the second vehicle the veterans council has donated in recent months.

So where was Mr. Mahler going first in his new car?

“I’m heading into town to do some grocery shopping. Then after that my wife has a doctor’s appointment that’s real important to take care of in Orange Park,” he said before a brief ceremony with council members at his home the morning of June 25.

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