Edgar Harrell

Edgar Harrell, a veteran who survived the attack on the USS Indianapolis, will speak at the Utah Military Academy on Nov. 11.

Survivor of the USS Indianapolis to speak at Military Academy

Just past midnight on July 30, 1945, young Lance Cpl. Edgar Harrell found himself rocked by the first of four Japanese torpedoes hitting the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis. What followed was 10 minutes of shock as the proud, former flagship of the U.S. Navy sank — so rapidly that no distress call was even made. Then, five days and nights of sheer terror, as roughly 600 crew members were eaten by sharks, literally.

On Nov. 11, Edgar Harrell, now a 93-year-old veteran, will visit Utah County and share his story.

“He is one of only handful of survivors from that tragic event,” said Maj. James Peterson, commandant of cadets for the Utah Military Academy, Valdez Peterson Campus.

Maj. Kit Workman, commandant of cadets and one of the academy’s founders, added, “The ship had 1,200 crew members; 900 hundred went into the water, and five days later only 300 survived. Seventy years later, only a dozen survive.”

The speaking engagements are open to the public. Tickets can be purchased on the website, with proceeds being used to pay for Harrell’s travel.

“He is living history, and this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Matt Throckmorton, the academy’s executive director. “Most people only know of the USS Indianapolis from the 1975 movie “Jaws.” Well, it’s real.”

Harrell is one of only a few living survivors on the USS Indianapolis sinking. He is 93 and lives with his wife of more than 70 years in Tennessee.

Harrell will speak at 7 p.m. Nov. 11 at the academy’s Valdez Peterson Campus, which is located at 704 S. 600 East in American Fork.

Tickets can be purchased through the UMA website at utahmilitaryacademy.org, on Facebook, or by calling the main office at (801) 689-3013.

Disabled Vets group to bring mobile service office to Provo

The Disabled American Veterans charity will be stopping at the Provo Veterans Center on Friday to assist veterans in obtaining services and benefits.

The DAV is a nonprofit charity that provides a lifetime of support for veterans of all generations and their families, helping more than a million veterans in positive, life-changing ways each year.

One of the services DAV provides at no cost to veterans is their Mobile Service Office program. These “offices-on-wheels” travel to underserved communities across the country to help veterans and their families obtain the services and benefits they have earned.

Staffed by highly trained DAV national service officers, the MSOs provide professional support through the claims and appeals process.

They will be at the Provo Veterans Center, which is located at 1807 N. 1120 West, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday.

Those who come for assistance are asked to bring identification and pertinent documentation regarding their military service. DAV membership is not required to utilize the free services.

For more information, call Donald Reed, NSO supervisor, at (801) 326-2375.

Provo Bicycle Collective partners with Habitat group

Provo Bicycle Collective recently announced it formed a partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Utah County through which they hope to provide dozens of free bikes to low-income families each year.

Since 1991, Habitat for Humanity of Utah County has been providing affordable housing to local families in need. Through volunteer labor, professional expertise, and tax-deductible donations, they obtain land and build simple, decent homes in Utah County.

“Habitat for Humanity of Utah County is excited to partner with the Provo Bike Collective and help provide our low-income partner families with beneficial opportunities for transportation, health, and fun,” local Habitat Executive Director Kena Matthews said.

The collective is always in need of money and bike donations and willing volunteers to repair bikes for giveaway. Interested donors and volunteers can find out how to get involved Bicyclecollective.org.

Shelby Slade is a reporter for the Daily Herald who covers crime and the southern part of Utah County.