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American Legion Post 61 renamed after war veteran

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One of two American Legion Posts in Chaves County has been renamed after a Korean War veteran from Colorado.

Following the passage of a resolution by its membership in July, what had been Post 61 is now Norman E. Harpole Post 61, Stephen Lee, commander of the Post said Wednesday.

Area veterans late last year, revitalized the post which had been deactivated in the early 2000s. It is the second local post in Roswell. Charles de Bremond Post 28 of the American Legion also has a membership comprised of local veterans.

Legion Posts’ are commonly named after military veterans, Lee said, with some bearing the names of notable figures such as Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, who directed U.S. forces during the Persian Gulf War.

The effort to rename the post after Harpole is something Lee said he spearheaded starting earlier this year. Lee said he met Harpole, in 2012 while serving as vice-chair of the Legion’s District 5 in Colorado.

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Despite having never lived in Chaves County, renaming Post 61 after Harpole, who died in March at age 86, was a way to pay tribute to his friend.

“He lived in Colorado and died in Colorado, and this is just a way to honor — for me to honor his memory,” he said.

Lee described Harpole as a man who was sweet and soft-spoken.

“He was a very honorable man and very honor-bound,” Lee said. “He just struck me as a very driven individual. He knew what he wanted, he knew what was right and he went for it.”

According to the American Folklife Center’s Veteran’s History Project, Harpole served from 1950 to 1953 as a first-class U.S. Army private and cook stationed in Japan during the Korean War.

Harpole was born in Missouri where he spent a portion of his childhood, according to Harpole’s obituary, which was posted on the website TributeArchive.com.

As a child, his father’s job as a civilian employee with the U.S. Air Force then caused the family to move to Denver, Colorado.

Harpole was later drafted into the U.S. Army, where he served in the rank of private first-class.

After completing his service, the obituary said, Harpole married his wife Vivian, with whom he had two children.

The obituary states Harpole spent much of his professional life as a purchasing manager and was also active in volunteering both with the Westminster Police Department and in helping fellow military veterans.

Lee said Harpole was also a member and chaplain of the Legion’s Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Post 11-11 in Broomfield, Colorado.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext, 301, or breakingnews@rdrnews.com.