Book Blowout raises money for new library building

”The Old Man and the Sea.” “Emma,” “The Da Vinci Code,” “The Sixth Sense” on VHS. The original “Jungle Book” series. Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries. An “SNL” Trivial Pursuit game. Old typewriters and scanners.

Items like this and many more are available to own at the Rhome Public Library, which has an entire garage full of books and other library resources available for purchase during the library’s “Book Blow-Out” going on through the end of March.

Patrons can buy hardcover books for donations of $1 or paperback books for 50 cents. The event is designed to free up space in the library and to raise money for a new building on Main Street.

“Our building is too small, and we have to get rid of a lot of books that we just don’t have room for anymore,” said library board member Janice Wilson.

Wilson said it will cost the library about $500,000 for a new, 4,000-square-foot building and parking lot. She added that the board voted to temporarily name the new building after whoever donates the most money.

Other upcoming events at the library include:

  • a President’s Day program, 2 to 3 p.m. Monday, Feb. 16, for third, fourth and fifth graders, and
  • Story Time programs, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. every first and third Wednesday, February through May, for preschool-age children.

To register to attend these events or to donate to the Rhome library building fund, call Wilson at 940-577-2266 or the library at 817-636-2767.

You can also bring donations to the library.

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Burglars hit 2 pharmacies

Two Wise County pharmacies were burglarized in the early morning hours Tuesday.

Bridgeport Police Chief Randy Singleton said an alarm company contacted his department at 4:01 a.m. to report front glass breakage at Valu-Rite Pharmacy, located at 709 Woodrow Wilson Ray Circle. Officers responded and confirmed that a burglary had taken place.

Singleton said security cameras captured video of the break-in.

“Three people entered the store dressed in camouflage-colored jumpsuits and wore white bandannas over their faces with dark hoodies,” Singleton said.

One person remained in the vehicle, described as a white SUV.

Singleton said the smash-and-grab style burglary lasted about one minute, and certain narcotics were stolen. The burglars also left shelves and medicine bottle knocked over in addition to broken glass at the front of the store.

Rhome Police Chief Brandon Davis said his department received an alarm call at 4:33 a.m. from the Best Value Pharmacy at 400 S. Main St. in his city. Police arrived two minutes later to find a similar scene to that in Bridgeport. The suspects had broken the front glass, stolen items and quickly fled.

Davis said it appears the two burglaries on Tuesday could be connected, and it could be connected to a similar break-in at the Rhome pharmacy just 10 days earlier.

“These guys are professionals. They’ve done their homework,” Davis said.

Anyone with information on the burglaries can call the Bridgeport Police Department at 940-683-3430 or the Rhome Police Department at 817-636-2400.

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Burglars strike Rhome pharmacy

A pharmacy in Rhome was the victim of a “smash and grab” style burglary over the weekend.

Rhome Police Chief Brandon Davis said a burglary alarm sounded about 6:25 a.m. Saturday at the Best Value Pharmacy at 400 S. Main St.

“They took a rock and busted out the front window,” Davis said.

Once inside, the suspects stole only empty pill bottles and blood pressure medicine. Davis said they were likely after controlled substances, but those types of items are locked in a vault.

Davis said he is confident those responsible will soon be brought to justice.

“We’ve got video of them,” he said. ” … They’re from out-of-town.”

Davis said the burglary did not disrupt normal business at the pharmacy.

“They own several pharmacies in the area, and this is a relatively common thing for them,” he said.

Anyone with information on the burglary can call the Rhome Police Department at 817-636-2400.

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Family: Man killed while possibly sleepwalking

Spencer Crandall’s family believes he may have been sleepwalking, and was possibly intoxicated, when he was shot and killed outside a neighbor’s home the day after Christmas.

Memories of His Brother

MEMORIES OF HIS BROTHER – Ryan Crandall holds a photo of Spencer and Amanda Crandall. Spencer Crandall was recently shot and killed near his home in Rhome. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

Crandall, 31, of Rhome, was shot at around 4 a.m. Dec. 26, a few houses down from his own home on Carpenter Lane in the Shale Creek neighborhood east of Rhome.

Investigators interviewed the homeowner who shot Crandall. He said he did not know the man who came knocking on their door and ringing the doorbell, saying he needed to get in the house. The homeowner said he and Crandall struggled in the yard, then he warned Crandall he had a gun. When Crandall continued to try to enter the home, he was shot in the chest.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Crandall’s brother, Ryan, said it was not in his brother’s character to try to break into someone else’s home or be confrontational.

“Spencer was the kindest, most gentle peacemaking person I’ve ever met,” he said. “That was his role in the family and his role in life. I don’t know anyone, anywhere that he’s had a disagreement with. He was just a very gentle person and a good man.”

Ryan said his brother had suffered from back pain all of his life, and lately it had gotten worse. He would often wake up around 4 a.m. and walk around the block to help loosen up his back before coming back to bed.

The route Spencer would take, according to family, would be to walk down about four houses and then cross the street – directly in front of the home he was trying to enter the morning he was shot.

Spencer’s wife, Amanda, had said he had also been sleepwalking recently, around that same time of morning.

“She had had full conversations he couldn’t remember the next morning,” Ryan said. “He had left the house to go in the backyard or the front yard, and every time she had been there to grab him by the arm to pull him back in. … She knew when she talked to him he wasn’t awake. Sometimes it was just gibberish.”

Ryan said his brother did not drink alcohol regularly because of his faith, but he would drink occasionally to help when his back pain became worse. Ryan said their father went to Spencer’s home the morning he was killed and found nine empty beer cans on the table.

“It’s certainly our belief that Spencer was sleepwalking and somewhat inebriated when he was shot and killed,” Ryan said. “That’s a pretty heavy price to pay.”

Amanda was not with her husband the morning he was killed. She had left Christmas morning to visit grandparents in Mississippi. Spencer was supposed to make the trip with her, but due to his back condition, he couldn’t sit for the eight-hour car trip.

Although Spencer had a prescription for carisoprodol, a muscle relaxer to help with the back pain, the family does not believe he had taken any prior to the incident.

Ryan said Spencer was self-employed and helped his dad with his construction/farming business. On Christmas Eve, Spencer had helped his dad paint a house. That same day, he joined the family for Christmas Eve dinner before heading home with Amanda. She left on her trip at 9 a.m. the next morning.

Amanda spoke with her husband by phone around 7 p.m. on Christmas night, and then around midnight when Spencer accidentally dialed her number.

“They talked briefly. She told him she loved him, he told her he loved her. He said he was very tired and wanted to go to bed, so they ended their conversation and he went to bed, presumably,” Ryan said.

The next morning, Amanda heard about the shooting just down the street and became worried her husband might have been involved, a fear that only grew when she couldn’t reach him by phone. Police in Mississippi eventually delivered the news of her husband’s death.

They had been married less than three years and had moved into their home shortly after getting married.

“He poured all of his heart and effort into that house,” said Spencer’s sister, Jessica Crandall. “He planned on starting a family there.”

Although Amanda has been staying with family out of town recently, Ryan said she plans on moving back to her home eventually.

Wise County Sheriff David Walker said investigators are still working on the case and noted the preliminary autopsy report simply stated the obvious information – that Spencer died from a gunshot wound to the chest. He said they have talked to the three people who were at the home where the shooting took place as well as Spencer’s family members.

Walker said the toxicology report could help answer some questions, but it could still be several weeks before those results are available.

The case is expected to eventually be turned over to the district attorney, who could decide to bring it before a grand jury. No arrests have been made.

Whether laws were broken or not, Ryan said he believes his brother’s death was avoidable.

“To avoid this tragedy, all the shooter had to do was go inside and lock the door and let the police come,” he said. “Instead, he decided to be the police and took matters into his own hands and took a life.

“To me, it was completely unnecessary. Even though it may have been legal – I don’t know whether it was or wasn’t – to me it certainly wasn’t moral and could have been completely avoided.”

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Bank robbery suspects arrested

Investigators believe they have identified and located the suspect who robbed Rhome’s Woodhaven National Bank in October – along with two accomplices.

Around noon Oct. 29, a man walked into the bank and handed a teller a note instructing her to “hand over the money and no one will get hurt.” Once he had the money, he left the bank and got into a newer-model, four-door pickup where another man was waiting to drive away.

Since then, the Rhome Police Department has worked with the Wise County Sheriff’s office, Texas Rangers and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to identify those who took part in the robbery.

Temple Jernigan

Rhome Police Chief Brandon Davis said investigators recently received an anonymous tip telling them to talk to Temple Jernigan, 46, who had been arrested Nov. 21 in Tarrant County for parole violation. On Dec. 23, investigators questioned Jernigan, who gave a full confession to the Rhome bank robbery, Davis said.

Using information obtained during the interview, investigators were later able to find other evidence linked to the crime – including the jacket Jernigan wore into the bank and the getaway vehicle.

Jernigan also provided the name of the person who drove the pickup away from the scene – Darrel Calloway, 52, who is currently in the Johnson County Jail. Davis said Cheryl Migues, 48, has also been connected to the crime as the person who typed up the letter handed to the teller. She is also in the Johnson County Jail.

Davis thanked everyone who provided information in the case.

“The witness information was instrumental in leading us to this suspect,” Davis said. “We want people to know that if you commit a crime in Rhome or Wise County, you are going to get caught.”

Davis said Jernigan was most recently living out of a motel in Fort Worth but has previously lived in Azle. He believes that after leaving the bank on Oct. 29, Jernigan and Calloway got onto Texas 114 West toward Boyd, then headed south on Farm Road 730 to Azle before heading back to Fort Worth.

Because of their knowledge of the area, Davis said it is possible they may have committed more crimes in the area because of burglary tools found in the pickup. Davis encouraged anyone near that route who has been the victim of a recent burglary to pass that information along to authorities.

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Sheri Lyn Plankey

Sheri Lyn Plankey

Sheri Lyn Plankey, 53, of Rhome, died Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014 at Clements University Medical Center in Dallas of complications with leukemia.

Sheri was born Nov. 18, 1961 in Houston to Joseph Byrd and Carol Sue (Waterman) Wilson, Jr. She graduated from the University of North Texas with a B.S. in Education.

She married David Plankey June 21, 1980 in North Richland Hills. She retired in May 2013 after teaching for the Birdville ISD for 29 years.

She was preceded in death by her father, Joe Wilson, and a sister, Dianna Glover.

She is survived by her husband, David Plankey of Rhome; daughter Rachel Hartzler and husband, Michael, of Denton; sons Jeremy David Plankey of Denver, Caleb Allen Plankey of Rhome; mother Carol Sue Wilson of Denton; brothers Daniel Wilson and wife, Cathy, of Haslet, Jeff Wilson and wife, Tamara, of Sanger; and grandson Michael David Hartzler.

Visitation will be 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 1 at Mulkey-Mason Funeral Home in Denton. Funeral is 2 p.m. Friday, Jan 2 at the Argyle Church of Christ, with David Berryman officiating. Interment will follow at Thurmond Fairview Cemetery in New Fairview.

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Wise County residents earn Dallas Baptist University degrees

Three Wise County residents were among the 501 students receiving degrees from Dallas Baptist University during winter commencement ceremonies held recently.

Abigail Suzanne McCrary, a native of Decatur, graduated with a Master of Arts in Counseling.

Andrew Don Sherwood, also of Decatur, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English/language arts education 4-8 with a minor in biblical studies and Spanish. During his time at DBU, Andrew was a member of the Beta Beta fraternity.

Ashley Nicole Applewhite, a resident of Rhome, received a Master of Arts in Counseling.

DBU is a comprehensive Christ-centered university with an enrollment of 5,445 students on its main campus in southwest Dallas, with academic centers in Plano and the Hurst-Colleyville area.

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‘You’re at the wrong house’ – Man shot, killed while attempting to enter neighbor’s home

A man was shot and killed in the entryway of a home by the homeowner early Friday morning east of Rhome.

The Wise County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the circumstances around the fatal shooting and are still trying to determine why the suspect was apparently trying to enter the home. The house is in the 12800 block of Carpenter Lane in the Shale Creek neighborhood off Texas 114 near the Wise/Denton County line.

NEIGHBORHOOD SHOOTING – A Rhome man was shot and killed early Friday morning attempting to enter this home in the Shale Creek subdivision. Investigators are not sure why the man was attempting to enter the home. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

Sheriff David Walker said a man and a woman were at the home when they heard someone banging on the door and repeatedly ringing the doorbell just before 4 a.m. The female went outside but didn’t see anyone, so she came back inside.

The two then started hearing more banging on the door. The female then saw a man outside and called the male homeowner for help. At that point, Walker said the homeowner got his pistol and went outside.

“He sees the male suspect trying to climb a privacy fence and orders him to the ground,” Walker said. “The homeowner said, ‘You’re at the wrong house.'”

The two then began to struggle in the yard as the suspect moved back toward the front door of the house. The homeowner tried to restrain the subject, who was physically larger than the homeowner, Walker said.

“The homeowner told him he was armed, and the suspect kept trying to get in the house,” Walker said. “(The homeowner) fired one round and struck the suspect in the chest.”

The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene, and his body was sent to the Dallas County Medical Examiner for an autopsy.

Walker said the man did not have any identification on him, and investigators searched for a vehicle the suspect might have been driving if he didn’t live in the neighborhood. By early afternoon, the suspect had been identified as Spencer Crandall, 31, who lived just down the street.

Walker said Crandall has a wife who was out of state when the incident occurred. She was notified of her husband’s death before the sheriff’s office released his name.

No weapon was found on Crandall.

Walker said investigators had talked to both the man and woman, as well as a 14-year-old who was also at home at the time of the shooting. None were injured in the incident. He said they did not know Crandall.

No arrests were made, and Walker said the case will most likely be referred to a grand jury.

Neighbors said they never had something like this happen in their quiet neighborhood, where neighbors know each other and kids can often be seen playing outside.

Resident Mike Trammel watched as they put Crandall in a body bag and removed him from the property around 8:30 a.m.

“It’s all families around here. They’ve got three boys; he’s got a 13-year-old,” Trammel said, pointing to different houses on the street. “I mean … it’s all families right here. We’re gonna protect our families and our street. We see something not right, we’re gonna report it or say something. It’s a good place.”

Jimmy Alford contributed to this story

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Paisley-Jane Benavides

Shay and Eric Benavides of Rhome announce the birth of a daughter, Paisley-Jane Benavides, on Dec. 22, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 9 pounds, 2 ounces and was 21 inches long.

She has four brothers: Caine Ramirez, Jacob Benavides, Aven Benavides and Daniel Benavides.

Grandparents are Eric Benavides Sr., Christine and Don Beaty, and J.D. Landry and Nancy Rodriguez.

Great-grandparents are Christine and Joe Benavides, Ruth Webb, Jake Rodriguez and Lupe Rodriguez.

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Grayson Wayne Ford

Lora and Jimmy Ford of Rhome announce the birth of a son, Grayson Wayne Ford, on Dec. 16, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

He weighed 9 pounds and was 21 inches long.

He has one sister: Loren Landers, 13.

Grandparents are Lorie and William Frederick of Rhome and Rick and Charleen Landers of Fort Worth.

Great-grandparents are Mary Franks of Rhome and Doyle and Dora Landers of Hawkins.

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Ethan Luis Miranda

Corina Garcia and Luis Miranda of Rhome announce the birth of a son, Ethan Luis Miranda, on Dec. 8, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

He weighed 7 pounds, 3 ounces and was 18 1/2 inches long.

Grandparents are Jorge and Consuelo Garcia of Rhome.

Great-grandmother is Maria Elena Lopez.

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Teen injured in weekend wreck

Teen injured in weekend wreck

A Rhome teenager suffered a massive head injury in a two-vehicle accident on U.S. 81/287 south of Decatur Saturday afternoon.

Violent Collision

VIOLENT COLLISION – An 18-wheeler hit a Dodge Durango on U.S. 81/287, near County Road 4421, just before noon Saturday. Daren Rowe, the driver of the Durango, was transported by Air Evac Lifeteam 68 to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Daren Rowe, 18, and a friend in another vehicle had stopped side-by-side in the 81/287 crossover, just south of County Road 4421, about 11:50 a.m. to talk. A third vehicle approached the crossover and honked at them so it could get through.

Trooper Beau Bridgeman, with the Department of Public Safety, said Rowe pulled his Dodge Durango too far out and into the left lane of southbound 81/287, where he was hit by a Straight Arrow Transport 18-wheeler. The truck pushed the Durango across the southbound lanes of traffic, and both vehicles came to rest on the west side of the road.

The impact pushed Rowe to the back of the SUV. He was flown by Air Evac Lifeteam 68 to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth.

Mandy Rowe, his sister-in-law, said Daren’s condition is improving, and he was moved from ICU Sunday.

“They’re supposed to start getting him to try to walk today,” she said Tuesday morning. “His injuries are more consistent with falling off of a two-story building than a car accident …”

Mandy said two of his vertebrae are broken and one is ruptured. He also has a broken shoulder blade. She said he should make a full recovery but will likely have lifelong back problems.

The driver of the truck, Gerald Gordon of Centerfield, Utah, was not injured.

Rowe’s friend and the third car in the crossover were not involved in the accident.

Both southbound lanes of 81/287 were shut down for an hour, and traffic was backed up for miles.

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Nancy J. Howell

Nancy J. Howell

Nancy J. Howell, 60, of Rhome, died Monday, Dec. 1, 2014, in Decatur.

Funeral is 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 6, at Aurora Baptist Church with the Rev. Jimmy Withers officiating. Burial will follow at Aurora Cemetery under the direction of Christian-Hawkins Funeral Home in Boyd.

Pallbearers are Johnny Howell, Ryan Howell, Matt Peel, Zach Lewis, Alan Jasin and Kevin Jasin.

Nancy was born April 18, 1954, in Oak Park, Ill., to Albert and Eileen (Martin) Jasinsks. She married Johnny Howell July 11, 1993, in Fort Worth. Nancy was a member of Aurora Baptist Church.

She was preceded in death by her parents.

Survivors include her husband, Johnny Howell of Rhome; sons Matt Peel and wife, Mandy, of Houston, and Ryan Howell of Rhome; daughter Liz Ivey and husband, Jared, of Florida; grandchildren Kinsley, Brayden, Anabelle and Raven; sister Eileen Werkin and husband, Rich, of Channahon, Ill.; brothers Alan Jasin and wife, Debbie, of Palatine, Ill., and Kevin Jasin and wife, Kristina, of Aurora, Ill.; and other family members and friends.

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Virginia Lee Harper

Virginia Lee Harper, 75, of Rhome, died Friday, Nov. 28, 2014, in Decatur.

Services were Dec. 1 at Slay Memorial Funeral Home in Pilot Point. Burial was at Tioga Cemetery under the direction of Terri Slay and Slay Memorial Funeral Center in Pilot Point.

Virginia was born Sept. 12, 1939, the daughter of William H. “Buster” and Ina Mae (Davis) Graves. She married Pleas “Pat” G. Harper Jr. June 7, 1958. He preceded her in death. Virginia was a homemaker.

She was preceded in death by her husband; daughter Teresa Lackey; and sister Pat Schon.

She is survived by son Jerry Wayne Harper and wife, Liz, of Rhome; grandchildren Patrick Harper and wife, Kelli, of Hutto, Jeff Harper and wife, Tasha, of Rhome, Chrissy Ryan and husband, Justin, of Rhome, Tera Lackey of Arlington and Travis Lackey, also of Arlington; and sisters Wanda Burger of Pilot Point and Helen White of Wylie.

Online condolences may be recorded at www.slaymemorialfuneralhome.com.

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Barron James Reuter

Brian and Valerie Reuter of Rhome announce the birth of a son, Barron James Reuter, on Nov. 22, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

He weighed 8 pounds, 9 ounces and was 21 inches long.

He has one sister: Avery, 3; and one brother: Cody, 5.

Grandparents are Jim and Carolyn Reuter of Morris, Minn., and Paul and and Ebby Loeffler of Alpine.

Great-grandparents are Mann and Pat Bramblett of Sierra Blanca and Virgil Sauder of Morris.

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United Metal Services

Address: 9886 U.S. 287, Rhome

Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Phone: 817-636-0965

Fax: 817-636-0966

Email: jessica@united-metal.net

Website: united-metal.net

Owner/manager: Jessica Sims

Products/services: Metal fabrication

Ribbon Cutting 1

RIBBON CUTTING – Decatur Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting Nov. 14 at United Metal Services in Rhome. Pictured are employees Jaime Ortiz, Ramon Ortiz, Efrain Rangel, Garrett Sharp, Cody Lightfoot, Philip Sims, Ben Butterworth, Juan Leija, Suren Espinosa, Ruben Castillo, Ricardo Garcia-Ortiz, Jessie Gloria, Chad Duke, Jackie Richardson, Robert Johnson, Michele Kelly, Jessica Sims, Brad Harfield, Desi Aguilar, Helio Hernandez, Ted Sims, Sean Lanciano, Ricardo Guerra, Maurice Blair, Joe Degollado, Jessica Wood and Vanessa Henry. Photo by Southern Girl Photography

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Asher Trigg Maddox

Dusty Maddox and Asia Lewis of Rhome announce the birth of a son, Asher Trigg Maddox, on Nov. 17, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

He weighed 8 pounds, 15 ounces and was 20 inches long.

He has two brothers: Billy Maddox and Ronald Landreth; and two sisters: Alanta Meza and Aroara Ishmael.

Grandparents are Bill and Andrea Maddox and Cristie and Martin Lewis.

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Molly Rose McCullough

Alex and Jessica McCullough of Rhome announce the birth of a daughter, Molly Rose, on Nov. 10, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 7 pounds, 6 ounces and was 19 inches long.

She has one sister: Morgan, 4.

Grandparents are Jim and Patty of Alvord and Bill and Dolores of Rhome.

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WWII vet tells of his capture

On Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, ushering America into World War II. Soon after, Henry “Hank” Plume joined the Army Air Corps and became a pilot.

In the winter of 1944, Plume’s B-17 bomber was shot down over Germany, and the young lieutenant became a prisoner of war.

Henry “Hank” Plume

Plume, now 93, recounted the story in the living room of his house near Rhome, where he has lived alone since his wife, Kay, died seven years ago. He said he’s lost much of the vision in his right eye, and “this year’s been a lot harder on my health than last year” – but as he begins to tell the story of the day he was shot down and the months he spent in Stalag Luft I, he rises out of his chair and begins to pace.

It’s a scene that would probably look familiar to the many who have heard his stories at Dallas Baptist University, Lions Club meetings and other speaking engagements over the years. Plume doesn’t do many speeches now, and mostly stays at his modest house in the country. The horses and cattle he used to raise are long gone – “I had to give up the saddles and the cattle once I started losing my vision” – but memories of his time in the Air Corps are all around his home.

Distinguished service medals hang on a wall next to a portrait of him after he graduated flight school. Model B-17s sit in an alcove near the foyer. Other pictures of family members who followed his example and served in the Armed Forces decorate his coffee tables.

“I want to be clear about something – I wasn’t drafted,” Plume said. “I volunteered for my military service.”

Plume has told the story of his capture so many times he’s written it down, and recounting it comes naturally to him.

He was flying a mission to Kaiserslautern when his plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire. A fire broke out on the B-17’s right wing, which he couldn’t see because it was in a blind spot.

“It was right where nobody could see it, and I went back to the radio and everyone was yelling, ‘Your right wing! Your right wing is on fire!’ So I put my head up against the window and I could see that it was going to explode any minute. I switched over to the intercom and called for everybody to bail out,” Plume said.

Plume was captured shortly after he landed.

“They were waiting for me,” he said.

A few days later, he was taken to a small village, where he was interrogated by a German officer who placed a 390th Bomb Group book in front of him, hoping to make him crack. Plume lost an entire crew in a mission in November of 1944.

“I hoped that they would be pictured in that book, but I did not give in to satisfy my intense interest,” Plume wrote in his re-telling of the event.

He spent four days in solitary confinement and was then moved to a P.O.W. camp in Wetzlar. He finally arrived at Stalag Luft I in Barth, Germany, on Jan. 17, 1945.

“Our camp was right next to the Baltic Sea, about as far north as you could get and still be in Germany,” Plume said. “It was cold.”

Being held captive, he said, “was one day of boredom after another day of boredom.” And contending with the cold was difficult.

“We had 24 men in one room, with two blankets and a sack of straw, no heat and very little to eat,” Plume said. “We didn’t have anywhere to take a bath, so we would take a bar of soap and burn it, and we would have to light fire to the soap to heat a pitcher of water.”

Plume and the rest of the soldiers relied on Red Cross food parcels for meals, at one point going six weeks without them, surviving on the meager rations the German soldiers fed them.

They wouldn’t be prisoners for long, however.

“We went to bed on April 30, 1945, and woke the next morning and the German guards were gone,” Plume said. “So we were supposed to be restricted to our campsite, but we weren’t. Guys wanted to go to town, they went to town. The Russians came in on May 2. Some of them were on horses, others were in cars, trucks. We weren’t prisoners anymore.”

Plume said he stayed with the Russians for two weeks, then flew into France.

The Germans surrendered unconditionally on May 8, and Aug. 9 the Japanese surrendered and the war was over.

Plume was given the option to retire early from active duty. He took it and moved back to Texas. He eventually settled down with Kay in Wise County. They were married in 1948, and they raised horses and cattle and three children – a son and two daughters.

His calm, understated delivery lines up with his view of his place in the war.

“A lot of people say we’re heroes and such, you know? But none of us claim to be heroes.

“We did what we were supposed to do. We were at war.”

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Rhome City Council looks at IT proposal, audit

The Rhome City Council officially accepted Mayor Louis Godfrey’s resignation Saturday.

The action came in a 1 p.m. special called meeting that also put IT (information technology) concerns and an audit discussion before the council.

Godfrey, who was serving his first term as mayor, turned in his letter of resignation Oct. 28. The council scheduled a special meeting to accept the resignation after meeting the 72-hour requirement for posting an agenda.

The resignation leaves Mayor Pro Tem Charles Pennington to preside over council meetings and act in the capacity of mayor until another mayor is appointed or chosen by the voters. Pennington has led the last several council meetings in Godfrey’s absence.

The council also discussed concerns about the city’s information systems, since Godfrey was the person who maintained them.

Chip Kowalski of Wise Networks in Decatur discussed his services with the council and made a bid to take over maintaining the city’s computer systems and networks. City Attorney Walt Leonard is looking at the proposed contract and will have a recommendation for the council at its next meeting.

The council also talked about getting an audit of the city’s finances in the wake of the recent resignations. They will continue to consult with an area accounting firm and consider options.

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