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Grafton’s Nestor honored as West Virginia Memorial Day Parade’s Grand Marshal

By Nicki Skinner, The Mountain Statesman

GRAFTON, W.Va. — Grafton native Willis Nestor has been announced as the 157th Annual West Virginia Memorial Day Parade grand marshal, due to his strength of character and continued dedication to American heroes.

Nestor is no stranger to hard work, growing up at the end of the Great Depression. He was born at home in the Lucritia area of Grafton, on March 10, 1932, the son of Lorn and Onda Nestor.

When his family moved to a farm in Knottsville in 1939, he, his brother and seven sisters all learned from a young age the value of hard work.

Nestor went on to graduate from Grafton High School in 1950. He wanted to serve his country during the Korean War, so on march 25, 1951, he enlisted in the United States Air Force as an Airman 1st Class, 20th Air Force.

A three-day train trip carried Nestor from his home in West Virginia to San Antonio, Texas, where he underwent training in bootcamp. He said from there, he was sent to Blairsville, Pennsylvania and then on to Cheyenne, Wyoming to attend mechanic and advanced welding school.

In March 1952, he was transferred to Camp Stoneman, California, and just 13 days from arrival, he was shipped to Okinawa, Japan on the ship “The Anderson”.

“It took 18 days from California to reach Okinawa,” he said.

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