This week New Standard Senior Living is honoring veterans of the United States Armed Forces. Some of them live right here; in our community.
As we spoke with our residents, we were lucky to learn about the lives of brave men and women who served our country. Here are their stories.
Preston K. Chew
Preston served in the Navy from 1950 to 1954. He enlisted while visiting San Francisco, California — also the place of his boot camp. Preston was stationed in Guam, Korea, Philippines and Hawaii.
When asked about his fun memories, Preston shared one of his favorites — the story about the ship’s curfew. The 12:00 A.M. curfew was mandatory and, as it turns out, always impossible to make. Preston and his buddies faced a big problem. They had to find a way to avoid the guards while sneaking back onto the ship. For these young men, finding a solution to this pesky challenge was of high importance, and so they did. The solution was quite simple but very creative. They would use the anchor chains as a ladder which allowed them to climb back onto the ship past their curfew. “We did this pretty often and were never noticed,” Preston added.
Then, Preston shared with us another memory. It was a moment in the past, responsible for his future.
Towards the end of his term, Preston was visiting a club called the Ajax Club in San Francisco. He met a young lady there, bought her a drink and later that night they rode a jitney together around San Francisco. Preston married the young lady in California and then brought her back to his home state of New Jersey. Together, Preston and his wife Betty raised a family of five in Millville. Preston credits his time in the Navy to meeting the love of his life.
Linda was a Staff Sergeant for the United States Air Force stationed in Minot, North Dakota. She served 10 years from 1978 to 1988.
When asked about any fond memories, Linda told us the story of the “snow snakes.”
Upon Linda’s arrival at the Minot Air Force Base, she was instructed to watch out for the snow snakes! Of course, snow snakes weren’t actual snakes. That term is used on the base to describe fine wisps of snow that blew across the roads. Because the snow is so dry, it often forms realistic snake patterns on the ground.
To this day, the Minot Air Force Base issues alerts that often read “Caution; the snow snakes are out and are rather vicious.”
Linda had her first child while stationed in North Dakota, and later moved back to New Jersey to grow and raise her family.
Speaking with our residents, we were privileged to hear many captivating veteran stories including Roy Bowker’s who served in the Army from 1967 to 1969. Or the story told by our resident Bob Sweeney about his mother who served in the Second World War — Margaret Barbara Schmitt (Flemming) — who was part of the WAAC (Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps) of 1942.