The “Veteran of the Month” for Dec. 2016 is Cecil Dorton Gibbard. Born on June 3rd, 1917 in East Jordan, Mich., where he resided most of his life.
Gibbard attended Central Lake, Mich. Public Schools where he completed the 10th Grade.
Leaving school in 1933, at the age of 16, he went by train to St. Anthony, Idaho to work as a farm hand on various farms assisting in planting, cultivating and harvesting crops of potatoes, peas, wheat, hay and he tended livestock, drove horses and wheeled tractors.
In 1937 Gibbard attended Michigan State College taking a 13-week course in dairy testing and herd improvement.
Gibbard went to work for C. W. Daw in Saint Anthony, Idaho on a potato farm. On October 22nd, 1942 Gibbard enlisted in the Army in Detroit, Mich.
Following Basic Training at Fort Lewis, Wash. he attended Parachute Field Artillery School at Fort Sill, Okla., Tank Destroyer School for Orientation Basic, at Camp Hood, Tex., Parachute Jump School at Fort Benning, Ga. and was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant, after graduation from Officer Candidate School, and was assigned to the 603rd Tank Destroyer Battalion, Air Borne Unit, as its Commander.
On Feb. 18th, 1943, while home on leave, Gibbard married Dorothy Purdy in Central Lake and on April 29th, 1943 Gibbard departed the USA, shipping out of New York, arriving in The European-African-Middle Eastern Theater Of Operations on June 3rd, 1943 landing in Casablancain in Morocco and participating in the Sicilian Campaign.
While on an assignment his jeep driver lost control on a rain drenched slippery road just as a deuce and a half rounded a corner and hit them head on and Gibbard broke his right femur.
After spending time in field hospitals, on March 7th, 1944 he departed The African-Middle Eastern Theater arriving in the USA on March 18th, 1944 and was hospitalized in Charleston, S.C. After six months Gibbard received orders to report to the Advanced Paratrooper Training Regiment at Fort
Benning for limited duty as the Supply Officer of a training company.
Gibbard put in for a promotion to 1st Lieutenant that was approved and he went before a retirement board for a disability discharge.
On Sept. 7th, 1945 at Headquarters & Service Company, 2nd Parachute Training Regiment, Army Hospital, Fort Benning, Ga, Gibbard was relieved from active duty and was awarded a Campaign Ribbon with 1 Bronze Battle Star, America Defense Service Medal.
Returning home he moved his family to the Clarence Daw farm in Idaho as Daw had offered Gibbard year around work and a house for his family.
Returning to the Mich. family farm, Gibbard raised Herford cattle, built the Pleasant Valley Ski Tow in the late ‘50s with a warming cabin, snack bar, three rope tows with weekly slalom races and an ice skating rink.
Gibbard served as president of Beef Breeders Association, director of the East Jordan Chamber of Commerce, was a member of the American Legion and was awarded the Father of the Year in 1961 by the Rotary Club.
In 1989 he and Dorothy retired to Las Vegas, Nev. and on June 2nd, 1994 Cecil Dorton Gibbard answered the final call and was interned in Fort Logan Veterans Cemetery in Denver, Colo. and is being honored by his children Carol, James 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.