Former POW receives state’s highest honor


By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

LIBERTY — A man who spent more than three years in a North Korean prisoner of war camp was awarded the state’s highest civilian honor Sunday afternoon.

1st Lt. Bill Funchess, 90, received the Order of the Palmetto as part of Pickens County’s “A Salute to Veterans” program, which followed a patriotic Veterans Day parade in Liberty.

State Reps. Gary Clary and Davey Hiott presented Funchess with the state’s high honor, with Congressman Jeff Duncan and Pickens County Council chairman Roy Costner assisting.

Hiott told Funchess that sharing the stage with him and presenting him the award was “an extreme honor and a privilege.”

“I’m standing here because of you,” Hiott said. “Thank you. God bless you and thank you.”

While the award is the highest honor bestowed by the governor, “these awards are inadequate because of the things he’s done,” Hiott said.

“But I can tell you the state of South Carolina, Pickens County, the United States Congress and every single person out here thanks you for what you’ve done, for what you’ve endured, what you’ve fought through and the role model you still are today,” Hiott said.

Funchess said he wanted to “express my appreciation to Pickens County for honoring the veterans of all the wars and of all the branches of the service.”

“It is a special honor for me and it is a special honor, I am sure, for all the

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