When Izard County Sheriff Tate Lawrence heard L.B. Perry’s story, he didn’t hesitate, but went right to work to find the WWII veteran what his heart had desired for many, many years since his 1940s South Pacific Tour ended: and 81st Infantry Division Wildcat shoulder patch.
“He caught me over at the Burger Center,” explained Lawrence. “And we got to talking about his days in the South Pacific and he said he sure would like to have one of those patches.”
When it comes to a veteran who has served our country, that’s all it took to set the Sheriff to work finding L.B. that patch. Not only that, but Lawrence contacted Perry’s granddaughter, Amy Newberry who provided him with a photo of L.B. back in his glory days and Lawrence presented Mr. Perry with a custom-made plaque complete with the 1942 photo, a Wildcat patch, and an inscription thanking him for his distinguished service during the Great War.
“We proudly salute Mr. Perry and all our veterans,” reads the plaque.
L.B. displays the trophy with deserved honor. Back in the day, they called the 81st Infantry Unit “Wildcats” because of their boldness, agressiveness and bravery, and Perry was no exception. After several weeks straight of intense battle in the Carolina Islands, followed by a couple years’ additional service inPhillipines and Japan, the Izard County native returned home to Anderson (now Lafferty) in 1946 to marry and farm the land until L.B. decided cattle were more to his liking.
L.B. and his wife Willedean made their home in Lorado, Arkansas and raised their three children, Larry, Joyce and Brenda on a cattle ranch, and L.B. stuck with the beef business until he finally (semi) retired elevn years ago at the age of 80 and moved to Melbourne.
But, it seems there is no stopping a Wildcat. These days the WWII Vet splits his time between his home in Izard County and the home of his son, Larry Perry in Loredo.
“I still go out to the auctions and help my son with the cows,” said L.B. “I go to the sales in Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi and Oklahoma, but I just don’t drive the big truck anymore.”
The slogan of his Division, Wildcats Never Quit certainly applies to this honored gentleman who is always ready with a smile and conversation, whether it is about the “good old days” or what’s going on in his life now, so if you happen to run into L.B. at the Burger Center or somewhere else around town, be sure to say ‘hi’ and take the time to set a spell. You’ll be glad you did!
Mrs. Amy Perry Conway and the family of L.B. Perry would like to express their heartfelt thanks to Sheriff Tate Lawrence for his consideration and kindness to L.B.!