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Retired Maj. Bob Smith will speak at Monday’s school board meeting to request a memorial for Leo Gollie Grant at the new Old Fort Elementary School. Grant was an Old Fort native, graduated in 1962 from Old Fort High School, and was killed at the age of 22 while serving in the Vietnam War.

The McDowell County Board of Education will meet on Monday in the boardroom of the Central Office in Marion at 6:30 p.m.

Retired Maj. Bob Smith will speak during the public comment section on honoring Old Fort High School graduate Leo Gollie Grant at the new school. Smith told The McDowell News recently he has received support for the idea from Old Fort’s school board representative Patrick Ellis and Principal Jill Ward from Old Fort Elementary.

“I initially asked that they name the school after him but was informed their policy was not to name a school for someone,” Smith said in an email to the newspaper. “We have a series of tributes and I hope to see a medley of them implemented. Some of the ideas are to name the circular drive in front for him, my suggestion is Gollie Grant Way; a plaque at the flag pole; possibly either an athletic field or gym; and a Memorial Hall (this was Patrick's idea) that could have some memorabilia, copy of the citation and a plaque. That could be expanded to include a section for other Old Fort residents who gave their lives for our country and maybe a section to list those who have served.”

Grant graduated from the Class of 1964 at Old Fort High School. He was killed in 1966 at 22 years old while serving in Vietnam as a Navy hospital man/corpsman supporting Marines in combat. He was awarded the Navy Cross for his “extraordinary heroism on Sept. 19, 1966,” according to

“When the lead squad came under intense automatic-weapons and sniper fire from well-concealed enemy positions during the approach to Gia Binh Village in Quant Tri Province during Operation PRAIRE, Hospitalman Grant unhesitatingly ran forward and moved approximately 25 years, through deadly enemy fire to aid the wounded,” reads the award. “While moving toward the nearest wounded Marine, he himself was struck by small-arms fire. Ignoring his painful wound, he courageously continued his advance by crawling toward his wounded comrade. As he was applying a battle dressing to the man, Hospitalman Grant was wounded a second time by enemy fire. Continuing to administer first aid, he selflessly completed the treatment and directed the casualty to friendly lines. As he proceeded to another injured Marine, Grant was mortally wounded by a third enemy round. His professional skill, great personal courage and inspiring devotion to duty at the risk of his own life undoubtedly saved the life of one Marine, and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”

In other business:

-The school board will vote on roofing bids for East McDowell Middle School, Marion Elementary and Pleasant Gardens.

-The board will recognize West McDowell principal Donna Gardner, Donna Pyatt as the 2019-2020 Kenan Fellowship Program Award winner; Adam Wiseman for Certified Education Technology Leader, Peggy Curnutte as the N.C. School Hero, and secondary AP and CTE recognition.

-The curriculum feature will be presented by Foothills Community School.

-Teacher of the Year Angela Autrey will give her last report.

-Superintendent Mark Garrett will give an updated on Old Fort Elementary.

-The board will approve the consent agenda, Garrett will give his administrative reports and a closed session will take place for personnel considerations.

For more information on McDowell County Schools, visit

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