Piedmont officials to try 'Plan B' with Aubrey Stewart honor

Liz Beavers
Mineral Daily News-Tribune
Piedmont native Aubrey Stewart, who was one of the Wereth 11 who were murdered on the second day of the Battle of the Bulge, will soon be placed on a Hometown Hero flag in Piedmont.

PIEDMONT - After hearing about the ongoing vandalism of the sign erected at the entrance to Piedmont in honor of Wereth 11 member Aubrey Stewart, town officials are taking a “Plan B” approach to remembering the World War II veteran.

T.J. Coleman, who spearheads the Aubrey Stewart Project, told the Piedmont mayor and council on Nov. 3 that the sign erected on Ashfield Street at the foot of the bridge to honor Stewart had been pried from its poles and left lying on the sidewalk last month.

Stewart, a native of Piedmont, lost his life during World War II. Too old to be drafted into the military, he left his job and enlisted anyway in order to fight for his country.

On the second day of the Battle of the Bulge, however, he and 10 fellow soldiers were tortured and killed in a field near Wereth, Belgium, by a group of Germans.

The story of the Wereth 11 went mostly unknown until Coleman started the Aubrey Stewart Project and began speaking to schools, churches and civic groups to share what he had learned about the tragedy.

One of the things that has come out of the project was the erection of the sign honoring Stewart and the sacrifices he made to serve his country.

Since being erected, however, the sign has been vandalized on several occasions, and on one of those occasions it was torn down and eventually recovered from a private home in Westernport.

Piedmont Council member Paul Coleman, who is T.J.’s uncle, announced Nov. 17 that the city officials had decided to have a Hometown Hero flag created for Stewart and place it on the first utility pole as people come into town.

The council launched its Hometown Hero program earlier this year, and was able to place 24 flags in honor of local veterans in time for Veterans Day.

“We left the very first pole open so we can guy an Aubrey Stewart flag,” Paul Coleman said, noting that someone had already come forward to donate the money for the flag.

While the flags have been taken down so the town can decorate for Christmas, they will be put back up in time for Memorial Day next year.

Town clerk Carrie Lewis said a second order for more flags will be mailed out this month as well.

Liz Beavers is a veteran writer and managing editor of the Mineral Daily News Tribune. To reach out to her with a story idea, email lbeavers@newstribune.info.