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Statue of Medal of Honor recipient unveiled in Cornelius

A statue of Jerry Crump, a Korean War veteran and Medal of Honor recipient who lived in Lincolnton.

MICHELLE T. BERNARD
Staff Writer

A likeness of former Lincolnton resident and Medal of Honor recipient Cpl. Jerry Crump was unveiled at the Town of Cornelius Veterans Monument at a ceremony held on July 4.

Crump earned the Medal of Honor for his acts of heroism during the Korean War.

Crump was honored for his valor Sept. 6-7, 1951 while with Company L, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, in Chorwon, Korea. In the face of a “numerically superior hostile force,” Crump “repeatedly exposed himself to deliver effective fire into the ranks of the assailants, inflicting numerous casualties,” according to the official proclamation accompanying his Medal of Honor.

When two enemy soldiers attempted to capture an American machine gun, Crump killed both with his bayonet and secured the weapon. He returned to his original position to find four injured comrades. When an enemy grenade landed in the emplacement, Crump flung himself on the device before it exploded.

Crump survived his war wounds but was killed at age 43, on Jan. 10, 1977, in a single-car accident while returning to Cornelius, where he was residing at the time, from an American Legion meeting in Lincoln County, according to Crump’s daughter, Theresa Schwab.

Members of Cornelius American Legion Post 86 came up with the idea for the statue, according to Schwab. The Town of Cornelius embraced the idea and helped raise money to commission the statute. It was a community effort.

“They started to kick around ideas and decided that because dad was a resident of Cornelius and had been a member of the Legion that they would have a Korean War veteran representing all of the veterans,” she said. “They decided to use Jerry’s likeness.”

Cornelius American Legion Post 86 wanted to make the memorial more visible to the public.

“The original intent of the statute was of someone representing all of the names on the wall,” American Legion Post 86 member N.J. “Dee” D’Oria said. “We went with Jerry Crump because it would serve two purposes — one, to honor him for his ultimate sacrifice and earning the highest honor available for that type of valor and, two, he represents the 1,300 names on the wall.”

Utah-based sculptor Lena Toritch was chosen to do the statute. Toritch gained national attention for her statue of U.S. Army Sgt. Dan Brown, who died in 2012 in a roadside bomb explosion in Afghanistan. The statute depicts Brown reaching down to a child. Toritch also created the first monument to Special Operations Forces service dogs, which stands at the U.S. Army Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville.

Image courtesy of Contributed

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