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New Freedom Farm hosts veterans' breakfast in honor of WWII Marine

Botetourt County resident Carlos Showalter died at 94

BUCHANAN, Va. – Veterans from all branches grabbed a special meal to remember a Marine from the "Greatest Generation."

Carlos Showalter, a World War II veteran who fought on numerous Pacific islands including Iwo Jima, died Tuesday at the age of 94. Showalter was a regular at New Freedom Farm, a compound in Buchanan that helps veterans emotionally heal, so Director Lois Dawn Fritz held a breakfast in his honor at the farm Saturday morning.

"He was everything to me," Fritz said. "He visited the farm three times a week and never missed an event."

Fritz says the breakfast was Showalter's idea. She says Showalter told her about his plan to help veterans share their stories when she visited him at his home days before he died.

"He kept his story a secret for 55 years, and he did not want us other veterans to keep our stories secret for 55 years," Fritz said. "It makes me feel that his dream has been fulfilled because this was his dream."

Dozens of veterans showed up for the breakfast, including fellow Marines and a handful of World War II veterans.

Showalter's daughter, Carla-Jeanne Keith, says he would be proud to see so many veterans sharing their experiences with one another.

"It's an honor to have these people here to honor my dad," Keith said. "I'm proud that people can look up to my daddy and think a lot of him."

Mission BBQ donated the food for the breakfast; Showalter's World War II portrait is on the wall of the restaurant.