HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Hattiesburg's African-American Military History Museum honored several Hattiesburg women who volunteered as chaperones and hostesses at the facility during World War II, when it was a USO for black soldiers stationed at Camp Shelby.
In a ceremony Thursday, Lucile Martin Jackson, Vermell Tart Jackson and Juanita Reed Johnson received service awards, flowers and other honors from city leaders and museum staff for their efforts to greet soldiers and make them feel welcome during their time at Shelby more than 70 years ago.
The event also served as the kick-off for Black History Month activities at the museum.
"(The volunteers') goal was to make sure the soldiers felt good and it was a distraction from them training at Camp Shelby during World War Two," said Latoya Norman, museum manager.
"I feel great, because you might not ever be recognized, and I'm thankful to be recognized," said Lucile Martin Jackson.
"I am so grateful. It was such as surprise and I didn't think at my age I'd be recognized," said Juanita Reed Johnson.
"We didn't realize how important it was (during the war), but later, it was a really good feeling to be able to do something to help (the soldiers)," said Vermell Tart Jackson.
A fourth volunteer, Mildred Hart, was also honored posthumously for her volunteer service during the war. Hart died just a few days ago.