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Off The Editor’s Desk – 11-4-2015

“Are we doing a good enough job teaching our children what America is and what she represents in the long history of the world?” –Ronald Reagan, stated in his Farewell Address from the Oval Office on January 11, 1989.

Next Wednesday, November 11th is Veterans Day I urge everyone to say a big thank you to all those that have served this country.

I knew one veteran that I would like to write about. His name was Tommy Tyler. I got to know Tommy as we both served on the Board of Directors at Hiawatha National Bank. Tommy was from Bay City and operated the Bay City Hardware Store for most of his working life, where he sold hardware and boats. He retired from the bank board about six years ago, and then later sold the hardware store.

One thing that Tommy and I had in common was that we both owned an old Ford Thunderbird. Mine is a 1964 and I think his was a 1958. We talked about old cars often.

How he got his, is a pay it forward type story. He was a friend of an older couple who owned that T-Bird, and did a favor at one time for them. The lady passed away and after the gentleman was unable to drive any more, he approached Tommy with a proposal that he could not turn down. Tommy was asked if he would drive the fellow to visit his wife’s grave twice a year. Apparently the gravesite was some distance from Bay City.

The deal was that after the gentleman passed, Tommy would get the T-Bird. Tommy kept that vehicle for the rest of his life and it looked like new.

Now, Tommy passed a couple of months ago and I felt honored to be asked to be a pallbearer. The funeral was at a Lutheran church in Red Wing and burial was at the Bay City Cemetery where he was laid to rest next to his wife, Eileen.

Legion members from the Bay City Legion held the graveside services and did the salute to their departed comrade. Following the burial, lunch was served at the Legion Hall and as I entered the building, one Legion member was standing by the door and I thanked him for his service to this Country and for it at the cemetery.

He told me that he had not missed a funeral service for a member of that post in 52 years. Now that is dedication and that man is a hero.

I know that veterans organizations are in need of new members, so if you are a veteran and do not belong to one, please join.

Thanks for reading!       ~Carlton