Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was a farmer for the first 22 years of my life – the first 10 years with horses, then the rest with John Deere tractors. I was drafted into the army in 1941. I spent about 5 years in the army as a medic. I was working in a hospital stateside, then sent overseas, where I was a combat aide man for 17 days before being wounded. When I came home, I went to college on the GI bill, met and married Millie, my wife for 67 years, and raised 5 sons. I taught public school for 4 years – and for the Airforce for 15 years. After that, I returned to farming for the last 45 years, and have managed over 800 acres of high-plains grasslands ever since.
What one thing are you most proud of in your years so far?
I’m most proud of the lives I was able to save during those 17 days as an aide man. There were seven or eight guys I was able to save, but I lost more than that. After I was wounded, I was walking to the aid station, and a shell broke in front of me, near a plate glass window. When I got there, I found a man who was bleeding profusely. I stopped and wrapped up his wound tight, then walked on to the aide station. From there, I was able to send a litter back to pick him up. The doctor said he was lucky to have had the wound wrapped, which kept him alive. I was awarded the purple heart and two bronze stars.
What one thing would you like to accomplish before you are 100?
I’d like to verbally record some of the changes that I have seen through these 94 years, in nearly every aspect of our lives. Things have really changed.
What single thing do you think has changed the world most dramatically?
The changes in medicine have been the greatest, and have saved many people’s lives. For example, the effects of penicillin. I’ve seen three people whose lives were saved during WWII from penicillin.
What one piece of advice would you give your ten-year old self?
To make more friends, keep them, and record their names. I’ve had over 200 people I’ve been close to over the years, but now I only know a few of their names.