Iva Kilman Sharp Bryant gave birth to 3 children, all being sons: Marion Sharp, Stanford sharp and Hershel Sharp. All 3 served in various branches of the military, Stanford being the only son to see front line action fighting in combat on foreign soil. Stanford served in both Korea and two tours in Vietnam. Obtaining the rank of staff sergeant E6, he proudly served in the U.S. Army 7th cavalry from Feb 15th 1952 until May 31st 1968. As a result of Stanford's numerous acts of bravery he was accommodated with three purple hearts, the bronze star for heroism in ground combat, galantry cross with silver star awarded by the government of Vietnam and a letter of notoriety from the president of the united States.
Each purple heart offered a chance for him to stay safely on American soil to serve the remainder of his enlistment, however he refused. Stanford stated that he went overseas to fight beside his brothers in arms and he was not coming home before nor without them. Stanford truly lived by the code: honor God, love your parents and defend your country. The morals of a military man flowed in all aspects of his life as he selflessly contributed to his community and those in it. Stanford has been both a loved and respected member of Mattoon since 1933, leaving only for his employment as lieutenant with the Illinois Department of Corrections, from which he retired in Sept. Of 2001.
After battling cancer for several years as a direct result of repeated exposure to Agent Orange, upon his retirement Stanford's desire was to return to his hometown of Mattoon where he remained until his passing on December 4th, 2016, which deeply saddened us all. it is our hope that Stanford's legacy live on, so it is our honor to salute this hometown hero not only on Veterans Day, but every day.
Susan Swierk-Pigott, Mattoon