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Brian H.
Democrat NY 26

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  • Honoring the 90Th Birthday of Paul Woods

    by Representative Brian Higgins

    Posted on 2013-02-14

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    HIGGINS of new york in the house of representatives Thursday, February 14, 2013 Mr. HIGGINS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the extraordinary life and service of Paul Woods as he prepares to celebrate his 90th birthday on February 20th, 2013.

    Paul Woods was born in Basemore, Alabama, to Nora Fiels Woods and Anderson Sherman Woods. From an early age, the foundation of Paul's life was his family. Paul's family included six brothers and sisters in addition to seven half-brothers and sisters through his father. Sadly, Anderson Woods passed away when Paul was seven years old. Surviving relatives split up the seven children in order to care for them, leaving Paul to be raised by his wealthy Uncle Henry.

    In 1941, at age 17, Paul enlisted in the United States Army. He was immediately deployed to the Philippines to fight in World War II. Despite the Army's imposed racial segregation, Paul cared for his fellow soldiers like family, believing ``a bullet knows no race, rank, or status. We were all brothers on the battlefield.'' Paul took great pride in his service, and often told his children of landing on the Philippine shoreline in LST990 boats. Paul earned three Bronze Stars in the Philippines for his actions in combat. After his tour of duty, Paul served in the Military Occupation Specialties, delivering ammunition across the continent of Australia. In 1945 he was granted an honorable discharge.

    After returning home to Birmingham, Alabama, Paul met Mary T. Lucas, the love of his life. In 1953, the couple moved to Buffalo, and would reside in Western New York for the rest of their 59 year marriage. Paul began a 31 year career at Bethlehem Steel in July 1954, often working 16 hour days and nine shifts a week to support his family. In 1966, the Woods family moved to Angola, New York, but Paul continued to commute to Bethlehem Steel until the plant closed.

    Paul and Mary's family expanded to fourteen children over the course of their 59 year marriage. A true patriarch, Paul's greatest joy came from building his beautiful, thriving family. Paul believed in education as a tool to foster love and acceptance, and raised his children to value the same. All fourteen children attended college, and five followed their father's footsteps in the armed forces. As Paul's children had children of their own, Paul helped [[Page E158]] raise his nineteen grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren, often commuting from Angola to Buffalo to pay them a visit.

    In addition to their biological family, Paul and Mary opened their door and hearts to countless foster children. As licensed foster care providers for Randolph Child and Adolescent Services, Paul and Mary were honored as ``Foster Parents of the Year'' in 1997.

    Mr. Speaker, I thank you for allowing me a few moments to recognize Paul Woods. I am inspired by his boundless capacity for love and devotion to his family, and I am proud to celebrate his life here today. I am proud to celebrate his 90th birthday here today, and I wish him good fortune for many years to come.


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