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UT Health Northeast volunteer keeps brother's Camp Fannin legacy alive

Tyler, Texas (KETK) - 60 years ago UT Heath Northeast in Tyler was a military training facility known as Camp Fannin. 

It would mold the greatest generation to help end the last world war. Among those who were trained at the Camp was James Stewart.

Stewart was a field medic, who was trained to care for the wounded on the battle field. 

However, just a few weeks before shipping out he fell ill to pneumonia following a training exercise. He would be hospitalized at the camp, and miss being with the rest of his unit on the beaches of Normandy. Out of the 1,500 men in his unit, less than 15 would come home. 

James Stewart would stay at Camp Fannin for the remainder of the war. He was the camp doctor and worked looking after the prisoners of war. 

After being discharged from the camp, Stewart, a Georgia native, would stay in East Texas. He would soon convinced his brother, Lee Stewart, to move to the Piney Woods. 

"I was born in Georgia, but I got to Texas as soon as I could," Lee said. 

He joined the ranks of the army when he was just 15-years old. 

"A lot of the people I grew up with, they were looking on the ground for squirrels and rabbits . . .  and I'm looking in the sky for airplanes if I can see one." 

Lee Stewart would serve overseas following World War 2, where he was station in Berlin. 

After his tour, when he was 18-years old, he would re-enlist and serve in the Air Force as an air police officer. 

He would return stateside when he was 21. 

A few years after returning home he would move to East Texas to follow in his brother's footsteps. 

The two would settle their roots in Tyler, spending much of their time walking through the old grounds of Camp Fannin. 

"He saw the remnants of a lot of stuff. A lot of the wounded that would come back. He realized how lucky he was that he wasn't on that first way in Normandy." 

James Stewart would pass away in the Mid-2000s. Lee, looking to continue his legacy, now works as a volunteer at UT Health Northeast. 

Being a welcoming face to those in their most difficult moments. 

"After he died I came out and volunteered out here. Walked the same hallways, walkways and everything he was in. I just feel honored that I get to carry on his legacy out here." 

 


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