Today, on this Veterans Day, we honor U.S. military veterans, especially those among us here at Presbyterian Homes & Services —employees as well as the people we serve. Veterans Day is all about recognizing and thanking the veterans who are still with us such as Don Peterson, a veteran who lives at Fairway Knoll in Germantown, WI.
Don was drafted into the U.S. Army during WWII and rose to the rank of corporal. His time in service was about 18 months but, he says, “A lot happened in that short time.” Indeed, a lot did happen including the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the United States’ entry into the war. Don was sent to Europe and served on the front lines at the border of Germany.
On one fateful day, Don was part of the lead squad moving through a dense forest in an effort to push into Germany. “It was not a comfortable position to be in,” he remembers. Don was shot and wounded by an enemy sniper hiding in the trees. The next thing he can remember is being in a field hospital in France where he remained for two weeks to heal. After his recovery, he returned to active duty but in limited service and not on the battlefield. Don served out his tour of duty in England before returning home to Chicago and to civilian life. When he was discharged, Don received the Purple Heart, a United States military decoration awarded in the name of the President to those wounded or killed in combat while serving with the U.S. military.
After the war, Don attended Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, and received his degree in accounting. In 1950 he became a Certified Public Accountant. Don is one of millions of veterans whose higher education was financially supported by the U.S. Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, commonly known as the GI Bill.
Today, Fairway Knoll is joined by several PHS communities to honor the veterans who live and work in our midst. Our Life Enrichment Team created and sent out a virtual toolkit to help communities plan and hold meaningful and safe celebrations.
On this Veterans Day or any day, if you know a veteran, ask them about the story of their service. If you ARE a veteran, we thank you for your service.
Watch our Veterans Day video tribute: