From a young plow boy growing up in the beautiful mountains of Letcher County, I’ve become a lifetime member of the Disabled American Veterans, helping our veterans when they returned from Viet Nam, and welcoming home our POWs.
I’ve worked in the world’s largest office building, the Pentagon, and flown with Jimmy Stewart in a SAC B-52 Bomber.
I’ve met Col. Anderson, the World War II “ Triple Ace”, who was credited with 16.25 aerial victories while flying a P-51 Mustang.
I helped train the first female African-American who became a general in the Air Force, served with a Navajo code talker, and trained the President’s Air Force One crew at the Non- Commissioned Officers Academy.
I was one of the first to be called on during the Cuban Crisis. I helped Letcher Countians training during the Korean War, and escorted the first Air Force master sergent Viet Nam casualty to Arlington Cemetery.
I went on rescue missions in the Atlantic Ocean, and danced with Patti Page and got a kiss from her on my 22nd birthday during the Korean War.
I’ve met three Presidents and served with many American war heroes, and was one of the youngest printing supervisors.
I’ve had my name added to the Veterans of World War II Monument with the other veterans of Jenkins, Dunham and Burdine, in front of our Jenkins Museum, and that makes this old boy proud.
I’m also very proud of my 36 years printing and managing my senior softball team here in California. My over-75-year-olds were the state champs.
I served my country with pride for 22 years.
Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.