Trevor Fry, founding member of the Grant Parish Preservation Board and creator of the Facebook group page “History of Grant Parish,” is awarded the eighth Hometown Hero award, by WNTZ FOX 48, Randy Wiggins of Randy Wiggins State Farm Insurance and James Greer, pastor of Journey Church.
Wiggins surprised Fry as he was about to give a tour of the former Breezy Hill Artillery Range at Camp Livingston in the Grant Parish area of Kisatchie National Forest. He presented Fry a plaque, along with gifts from local businesses across Central Louisiana, valued at $250.00.
Fry founded the Facebook group page “History of Grant Parish” to allow him and other residents of the parish to post and share the parish’s history, genealogy and culture, and to allow for growth for current and future residents of the parish. The group page was subscribed to by 4,500 people in one year, according to Fry.
“We really wanted to do something just to memorialize some of the history in Grant, because a lot of us are just history nerds anyhow,” he said.
However, for Fry and many of his friends, the Facebook group page wasn’t enough.
Fry, along with Rachel Barnes, Amber Davis, and Kenny Bullock, created and organized the Grant Parish Preservation Board to protect and preserve physical historical sites and natural resources within the parish. “At some point, we really wanted to evolve and take the next step and become more tangible,” Fry said. “So we had this presence on cyberspace, but we wanted to do something that is more boots on the ground.”
Those ground efforts have already paid off, as Fry explains, as they were able to discover the burial site of a Civil War veteran and place a gravestone at the site. Other projects include placing areas within the parish on the National Register of Historic Places.
At the site of the former Breezy Hill Artillery Range inside the former Camp Livingston, Fry guides a tour, which includes the remnants of a bunker used during the Louisiana Maneuvers exercises by the United States Army held at the former range.
Camp Livingston, along with the former Camp Claiborne and Camp Polk (now called Fort Polk) were created or used for the Army’s Louisiana Maneuvers between 1940 and 1941 to assist Allied forces in World War II with American ground support, plus provide combat training in the event the United States itself were to enter the war. Nearly 400,000 troops were stationed and trained for possible combat across the 3,400 square miles of Central Louisiana and East Texas within the three camps. As fate would have it, the training became vital as the Army prepared for eminent war.
The United States declared war on Japan on December 8, 1941, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and upon Germany and Italy on December 11, after the two countries in turn declared war on the United States, thus entering the United States into World War II.
The Breezy Hill Artillery Ranger bunker, Fry believes, is an important asset to Grant Parish and it’s history, one that deserves protection. That mission he and his friends took on is why he humbly accepts being named a Hometown Hero. “It’s embarrassing, but it’s wonderful,” Fry said about the surprise by Randy Wiggins.
A lawyer by trade, Fry’s admiration and fascination with history and the connection of the former Camp Livingston began as a child, as his grandparents were examples of history within his own family.
“It’s always been something that’s special for my family because my grandfather was stationed at Camp Livingston. He was a soldier there,” Fry said. “Whenever he got shipped to England, because they were preparing for D-Day, he met my grandmother, Ivy Selby. So, she was actually in the English Army, and my grandfather, Bill Selby, was in the American Army.”
Fry proudly jokes about his grandmother’s English roots, as he explains his grandfather “imported” her back to the States. “She had to be the only person in Grant Parish with a British accent, I am sure,” he said.
That same passion and humor, as he explains to Randy Wiggins, is why he is honored to be named a Hometown Hero.
Hometown Heroes is sponsored by Randy Wiggins State Farm Insurance and Journey Church in Pineville.