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I knew I wanted (to go into the military) when I was 12. I’d spend my Saturdays at the recruiting station, getting coffee for recruiting sergeants and straightening brochures.
(My dad) was a mechanic, a crew chief, the senior enlisted man on a flight crew.
I wear this patch to honor his service. He served for (about) the duration of World War II, 39 months.
Roots in the Motor City
I’ve lived here since before there was a Centennial. Since 1983; same house.
I was born and raised in Detroit. I went into the military when I was 18 and spent 24 years in the United States Air Force (1961-1985). Much of it was at the Air Force Academy. I taught computer science (from 1973-1983).
There were very few undergraduate computer science departments at that time. I went to Pennsylvania State University in the ‘60s ... got a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science there.
Young love that lasted
I met my wife at a church picnic in 1960. I was in high school at the time. I was 17; she was 16 ... She was a coal miner’s daughter who moved to Detroit when she was 12. She was raised in coal-mine camps.
A calling to The Salvation Army
Two weeks ago, my wife said, what do you want to do for your birthday? So we went to King Soopers by our house, came out, and there was a woman bell-ringer. I put money in (the donations), as I usually do. The next day, I said, I know what I want to do on my birthday: volunteer for The Salvation Army.
I was born in a Salvation Army hospital in 1942. My father was off at war, and my mom had no money, and The Salvation Army opened its arms to my mom. It didn’t cost her a cent. So I support The Salvation Army financially.
My father had great respect for The Salvation Army … to my recollection, the only charity my parents supported apart from the Veterans of Foreign Wars was The Salvation Army.
I’ll keep volunteering this season (and) plan on volunteer bell-ringing with them. I’ll be on-call when someone doesn’t show up or their shift isn’t filled.
Giving back in the metro area: one of my favorite memories
I chaired a men’s conference at our church for the old Denver community two years in a row in the `90s, on being better fathers. Many men from our community came. That’s probably my fondest memory (here).
I learned leadership and the tremendous value of having a well-defined mission and a select group to carry it out.
If you have suggestions for My Name Is, please contact Ellis Arnold at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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