Rotarian Mel Ward presented his guest Stan Olszyk who shared stories of his life, focusing on his service in the US Army and Air Force. Stan shared that he recently had gone on an Honor Flight to Washington DC and was privileged to place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery during that trip.During WWII Stan was not quite finished with basic training when he, at age 18, and thousands of others were called up to join the war in Europe, specifically the “Battle of the Bulge”. Stan traveled on the “Isle de France” to the Firth of Clyde and then Glasgow Scotland, from where he took a train to Southampton and a ship across the English Channel to join the 69th Division in early 1945, replacing a division that had been in the battle for a couple of months already.

Stan was in the machine gun section and he related several, sometimes graphic, stories of his experiences.  Stan was involved in the battle for Leipzig where his sergeant was shot and killed, falling on top of him, in Stan’s words, “he falling on me probably saved my life.” After the war Stan joined an ordinance company. “In 1947,” Stan said, “the Air Force was formed,” which he joined in 1958. He was stationed in Alaska, Newburgh NY (Stewart AFB,  Syracuse NY,  Vermont at the Ethan Allen AFB, in Thule Greenland, the US Air Force’s northern most base: 750 miles north of the arctic circle. Next Stan got to, in his words, “thaw out” for a couple of years in Homestead Florida.  He then went to England – where he met his wife -  then Castle AFB in California, South Korea, and finally Columbus Ohio, after which he retired from the service.

Interestingly, Stan joined Ethan Allen furniture company’s distribution center in New York, later moved to California, and eventually Kentland, from where he retired. Besides his impressive service to our country, Stan also excelled in sports, specifically bowling, baseball, and golf.  Thank you, Stan,  for your service to our country!

In other Rotary News Tracy Smith will be returning to the Steven Ryan Community Center on Monday evening December 16th from 6-8 pm to share his career with the public.  Free refreshments will be served and admission is free also.   There will be an auction with some autographed memorabilia. Donations will be accepted and all proceeds will be given to the Baseball Associations in Brook, Goodland, and Kentland and the South Newton Baseball Program.