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Stewart receives Bell Ringer Award
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Bill Stewart was credited with saving the lives of 17 fellow Marines under a torrent of enemy bullets in Vietnam. In the firefight in July 1969, the 19-year-old from Warren County was severely wounded, losing the sight of his right eye and remaining hospitalized for three months before being medically retired, with high honors, from service.That selfless spirit of compassion and duty toward others energized and guided his pursuits in later life, as evidenced Thursday evening when the CHEER Mental Health Association presented its 2011 annual Bell Ringer Award for outstanding service to fellow citizens suffering from mental illness.Bill Stewart, husband of CHEER Mental Health Center executive director Janie Stewart, became the 39th Bell Ringer laureate, thanks largely to his decades of support for his wife’s work and for his other volunteer services to the community, according to the award citation presented by Janell Golden Hawkins. Among those accomplishments was his work as Boy Scout leader for Troop 305 in helping more than 25 boys, including his son Shawn, achieve Eagle Scout status.The son of C. O. (Chopper) and Mary Maxine Stewart, the Bell Ringer honoree was born in California and returned to his ancestral home in the Oakland community of Warren County.