The “Veteran of the Month” for September 2016 is Frank Joseph Strehl. Born on February 1st, 1920, in Mancelona, Michigan and as an infant moved with his family to East Jordan, Michigan where he attended school graduating in the class of 1938.
Strehl was inducted into the Army on Nov. 26th, 1941 entering into active duty at Fort Custer, Michigan and was assigned to Company F, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. After training for the Normandy invasion and being promoted to Technical Sergeant and Squad Leader, Strehls’ unit departed the USA on Jan. 18th, 1944 arriving in the European Theater of Operations on Jan. 29th, 1944 and was in the first wave of men to go ashore at Utah Beach, France participating in campaigns in Normandy, Northern France and The Rhineland.
Wounded twice by shrapnel on June 15th, 1944 and again on June 19th, 1944, he recovered from his wounds and returned to his unit.
On November 30th, 1944, during movement near the Siegfred Line in Germany, Strehl stepped on a land mine taking off one foot and severely wounding the other foot.
Departing the European Theater of Operations on Jan. 1st, 1945 and arriving in the USA on Jan. 12th, 1945 he was sent to Percy Jones Army Hospital in Battle Creek, Michigan, where it was decided to amputate the other foot.
It was at the Hospital that Strehl met the love of his life, Betty Jo Clinard from Jackson, Michigan. They were married on October 20th, 1945.
Strehl received an Honorable Discharge on Dec.2nd 1945 at Percy Jones Hospital Center, Fort Custer, Mich. and received the following Decorations and Citations:
The Purple Heart with Two Oak Leaf Clusters; The Combat Infantryman Badge; The Good Conduct Medal; American Defense Service Ribbon; American Theater Ribbon; The Victory Medal; European African Middle Eastern Campaign Ribbon and Three Bronze Campaign Stars.
They returned to East Jordan to make their home and Strehl had learned Watch Making and Repair through the VA and had his small shop in Hites Drug Store in East Jordan, now known as Busy Bridge Antiques. Strehl was a member of Saint Joseph Catholic Church, American Legion Post 227, and VFW Post 7580 all in East Jordan.
He enjoyed hunting, fishing, snow-mobiling and golf.
He never let his disability slow him down.
On April 4th, 2011 Frank Joseph Strehl answered the final call and is being Honored by his wife Betty Jo, sister Margaret Turcott, cousin Bob Strehl and their families.
To honor a veteran, call the program chairman at (231) 588-6067 or on Tuesdays call (231) 582-7811 between 3:30-8:30 p.m.
The ceremony may be witnessed on the first Thursday of each month in front of The American Legion Post located on the corner of South Lake and Main streets in Boyne City, Mich. at 6:15 p.m.