Ex-POWs in state meet for possibly last time
For quite possibly the last time ever, the South Carolina American ex-Prisoners of War held its annual convention. The group of nearly two dozen convened in Aiken for the first time since 2008 for a weekend of activities and meetings.•It's a great little place here in Aiken, and we got to see a good bit of it today,• Dexter Hood said. •We came in 2008, and everybody loved it. It's a lovely place.•Houndslake Country Club was chosen by the group for this year's meeting due to a number of factors but mostly because of the group's size. The group consists of POWs from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War but only about a dozen members remain.The chapters have also dwindled throughout the state, being nearly cut in half from the original seven that spanned South Carolina.Hood has worked with the group since 1991 and has enjoyed it every step of the way, despite knowing it may be coming to an end.•They're just wonderful people and deserve anything we can do for them,• Hood said.Led by Commander T.J. Martin, the ex-POWs went through two days of meetings at the country club but were also able to take in a full list of activities.On Friday, they were treated to a barbecue supper at Houndslake followed by a short musical presentation. Saturday began with a trolley tour throughout town and ended with a banquet at Houndslake.A book titled •Heroes, Survivors• is on sale and features many of South Carolina's former POWs recounts of their imprisonment.Chris Walsh is the arts and entertainment reporter for the Aiken Standard. He graduated from Valdosta State University and hails from Atlanta.