Holmes County High School honors local veterans

Published: Monday, November 11, 2013 at 04:14 PM.

She said his mother was born in Ottawa, Canada and became a naturalized American citizen in 1939.

“As a young boy, it was Herb’s duty to take his grandfather to French and German church on Sundays and as a result he learned to speak fluent French and German,” she said. “When he was twelve years old his father took him to a Washington Redskins football game for his birthday; it was Dec. 7, 1941 and during the game the announcement came over the loud speaker over and over again, ‘all military personnel to your duty stations immediately, this is not a drill.’ The stands came alive as uniformed men and women from all branches of service quickly began to leave for their posts and finally the announcer said ‘the Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor.’”

She said that at that time there was confusion about where Pearl Harbor was located because in 1941 Hawaii was still only a U.S. territory and not a state yet so “most people had no idea where Pearl Harbor was or that most of the U.S. Pacific fleet was based there.”

“At that point in his young life, Herb didn’t know what he wanted to do, but he knew that whatever he did, he wanted to make a difference,” she said. “He was too young to join the service and go to war so he knew he would have to work hard to finish school and to go to college, which was no easy feat in those days. There were no scholarships, so he started to work with two paper routes, one before and one after school; he worked as a soda jerk, curb manager for a Hot Shoppe and a grocery store manager.”

From the time he started work his father had insisted that he save 40 percent for college and deducted 50 percent for room and board which left him with only 10 percent to spend; with a wage of 25 cents per hour that was 2.5 cents, she said.

“It never occurred to him to ask or expect someone else to pay for his education; he knew what he wanted to do and he had the courage and tenacity to do it,” she said. “After high school he went Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Ind., playing football to get good meals and after graduation from Wabash, he was accepted to the University of Indiana Medical School but for financial reasons he was unable to accept; it was one of the greatest disappointments of his life but he remembered ‘when God puts a mountain in your path, you don’t sit at the foot of it and cry, you set out and climb it.’ After two years of work at Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich. doing research on blood coagulation he was accepted to the University of Maryland College of Medicine in Baltimore and he began to fulfill his dream.”

She said during his final year of medical school he entered in the Navy Senior medical student program and interned with the U.S. Navy in Portsmouth, Va. serving as a medical officer in orthopedics. After that, she said he entered the Navy school of Aviation Medicine in Pensacola where he received “intensive training in ophthalmology and flight training. He was assigned to Ellyson Field helicopter training command in Pensacola for three years.

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