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Brownwood man awarded Medal of Honor in 1902 to be recognized

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BROWNWOOD, Texas - A group recently discovered that a city of Brownwood native was awarded a Medal of Honor more than a century ago.

George Shelton was awarded our nation's highest military honor in 1902 by then-President Teddy Roosevelt for rescuing a wounded soldier alone under heavy enemy gun fire during the Philippine-American War, according to records.

"We are, in effect, bringing him home," said Harold Stieber, president of the Central Texas Veterans' Committee.

Shelton was in the U.S. Army and is buried at the San Francisco National Cemetery. He's the only known Brownwood native to have received the Medal of Honor.

"The medal itself ... just takes you to a different level of valor, of honor; and being near one of these guys is just incredible," Stieber said.

The discovery of Shelton's birthplace was brought to Stieber's attention by former Brownwood City Councilman Pat Coursey.

Coursey said he saw Shelton's birth town listed as Brownwood while scrolling through the national Medal of Honor's website.

"[I] went back and found census records from the time he was born," Coursey said. He added that he conducted exhaustive research to corroborate Shelton's birthplace.

Military records showed Shelton enlisted in the town of Bellington, a now-defunct town that was located near Waco.

With this discovery, a plaque honoring Shelton's service will be built at the Central Texas Veterans' Memorial.

"He's the second Texan to be awarded the Medal of Honor," Ret. Col. Tom Gray said.

Coursey also approached Gray with the news of Shelton's Brownwood connection. Both attend church together and Gray, who served in U.S. Army until 1994, is also heavily involved with the Central Texas Veterans' Memorial.

According to a spokesman with the Department of Defense, the agency's digital records only go back to the 1940s, and they can't provide KTXS a photo of Shelton.

The National Archives told KTXS the process of obtaining a photo could take months.

Stieber said a fire in the Brown County Courthouse during the early 1900s destroyed most of the county records, including Shelton's.

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