William E. "Sonny" Mottern was born June 24, 1920 and married his high school sweetheart, Eulah "Sweetie" Shepherd 57 years ago. He was elected the National Treasurer of AXPOW in Baton Rouge, LA on Oct. 24, 1998. He also knows what war is about.
From Dec. 1943 through Dec. 1945 Sonny served on active duty in the 15th Infantry, 3rd Division in France, where he received a battlefield promotion. He was captured Dec. 19, 1944 near the Rhine River in France. He was held in four different POW camps, moved around by boxcars and forced marches. Liberated on April 29, 1945 by Gen Patton's troops.
Discharged 12/ 7/1945, awarded the Bronze Star, a cluster, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, American/European-African Campaign Medal and the POW Medal. During the Vietnam conflict, "Sonny" again was called upon to serve his country, as chairman of the Carter County Draft Board . On April 19th, 1996 he was named by the governor of Tennessee as a Colonel, Aide-De-Camp for valor and dedication in the performance of his duties in service to the Ex-POW's and all veterans of the state of Tennessee.
"Sonny" also serves on the Military and Veterans Advisory Board for Tennessee. On April 19, 1997 he was appointed by the Governor as Tennessee Ambassador of Goodwill. He is a National Service Organization Representative for the Department of Veteran Affairs.
His community involvement and leadership includes: Elder in the Christian Church, Member of the Chamber of Commerce, past Master of the Masonic Lodge, life member, in the VFW, DAV, Purple Heart, the American Legion and the American Ex-Prisoners of War.
"Sweetie" Mottern, maiden name, Eulah B. Shepherd, was born June 2, 1922. She attended Milligan College, Carter County, TN. There she received Bachelors degree. She received her Masters degree at at East Tennessee State University. She taught school in Carter County TN for ten years, worked as a librarian for twenty-one years, and then retired from Sullivan County TN.
She married her high school sweetheart on October 17, 1941. Sonny and Sweetie had two children, Sonnie Bill Mottern and Ruth Lewis. They now have four grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Grandson Brad served in Japan as a Marine MP.
Sonny was elected and installed as National Commander of the American Ex-Prisoners of War on Sept. 21, 1996 at the 49th National Convention in Birmingham, Alabama. At the present time (1998) he serves as the National SR Director of the Board and President of the American Ex-Prisoners of War Service Foundation and continues to be active in numerous Veterans groups.