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Sergeant Sandlin: Kentucky’s Forgotten Hero by James M. Gifford

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Willie Sandlin (1890-1949) was born on Long’s Creek in Breathitt County, Kentucky. When he was ten, his father was jailed on a murder charge, and his mother died in childbirth, so he went to live with his father’s kin on Hell-Fer-Sartin Creek in Leslie County. He joined the U. S. Army in 1913 and in 1917 was sent to Europe to fight in World War I. On September 26, 1918, during the Battle of Bois de Forges in France, he destroyed three German gun nests and killed twenty-four enemy combatants. In February 1919, General John J. Pershing awarded Sandlin the Medal of Honor for his "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty.” When Sandlin was discharged from the service in 1919, he took the train to Hazard and walked the last ten miles back to Leslie County. The next year he married, and worked as a farm hand, W.P.A. road builder, and small farmer. He did volunteer work with Cora Wilson Stewart, the education advocate, and with the Frontier Nursing Service. In 1923 his army benefits were cut from $40 a month to $10 a month despite the lung disease he experienced as a result of exposure to poison gas during the war. Two of his six daughters died in childhood, and his only son became a successful pharmacist. For 33 years, the author, Dr. James M. Gifford, has been the head of the Jesse Stuart Foundation. During that time, he has published and edited 150 books by Jesse Stuart and about Stuart’s beloved Eastern Kentucky.

Ashland, Kentucky: The Jesse Stuart Foundation, 2018. 270 pages with an Index, Chronology, Appendices, color and black-and-white photographs and other illustrations. 7” X 9.5” hardback with pictorial cover