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Hero from the Heart of Virginia: Harold Giles

Harold Rusty Giles, Jr. (Jeff Giles)

Harold "Rusty" Giles completed the ROTC program at UVA and began his career in the Army after graduating.

After graduation he also married his high school sweetheart, Pam Giles, who he grew up next to on Broadway Street in Lynchburg.

His son, Jeff said he served many posts and served as Provost General at Fort Knox. In July 1970 he was sent into the Vietnam War as a Captain in the Army's Military Police. He also served in Saigon and was in the country from July 1970-May 1971. "Even though Saigon was one of the safest places to be, we still had rocket attacks, we still had plastic explosives blowing up buildings. One night the USO was blown up," Giles said.

While serving in the Vietnam War, he missed the birth of his first child (Jeff) and the majority of his first year. Jeff said there is even a picture of his wife Pam waving him goodbye as he flies away to war.

While in Vietnam, Giles was awarded a Bronze star.

After returning to civilian life, he worked for the Lane Company in Altavista for many years until the company moved out of state.

Jeff said in addition to raising his family and focusing on his career, he had been in Masonry the majority of his life and dedicated himself to the betterment of his community.

As a teenager he was a member of the Demolay in Lynchburg. After his military time, he became a Mason and ultimately Master of Campbell Lodge in Altavista, Jeff said.

"He is also a member of the Scottish Right and is an active Shriner. For more than 10 years he has been an active member of, and for a while the Director of, the Central Va Shrine Clowns. He is very active in supporting the Shriner's Hospitals thru parades in our area, the annual Shriner's Circus, and many fund-raising events. If you're ever in Lynchburg General Hospital he is a volunteer coming to clown for patients one Wednesday out of every month," Jeff said.

Jeff said Giles is truly a hero in our area, dedicating himself to protecting our country in Vietnam and giving his time to local charities and inspiring others to do the same.

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