The “Veteran of the Month” for January 2016 was Mercer Harding Carey.
Born on April 10th, 1921 on the family farm near Atlanta, Mich., where he would grow up working the land and attending school, Carey graduated from Atlanta High School in the class of 1940.
In 1942 he moved to East Jordan, Mich. going to work for The East Jordan Iron Works until Oct. 10th, 1942 when he was inducted into the Army entering into active duty on Oct. 24th, 1942 in Detroit, Mich.
Following Basic Training and Advanced Infantry Training, where he qualified as Sharpe Shooter with the M1 Rifle and Browning Automatic Rifle, Carey was reassigned to Company F, 383rd Infantry, serving as a squad leader, and while home on leave on June 21st, 1944 he married Bernice Helen Olson.
On July 23rd, 1944 Carey departed the USA arriving in The Asiatic Pacific Theater of Operations on July 28th, 1944 and participated in Battles and Campaigns in Sou Philippines, Ryukyua, Leyte Bay and Okinawa. On April 28th, 1945, in the West Pacific, Carey was wounded when hit by shrapnel in the arm, leg and chest and was sent back to the USA arriving at McCloskey General Hospital, Temple, Texas on May 23rd, 1945 to recover from his wounds.
On Feb. 19th, 1946 Carey was given a Certificate Disability Discharge from McCloskey General Hospital and on Feb. 21st, 1946 Carey was given an Honorable Discharge having attained the non-commissioned officer rank of Staff Sergeant and received the following decorations and citations: M-1 Rifle SS Medal, BAR Metal, Combat Infantryman Badge, The American Theater Medal, The Asiatic Pacific Theater Medal with Two Bronze Battle Stars, The Philippines Liberation Medal with Two Bronze Battle Stars, The Good Conduct Medal, The Purple Heart Medal, One Overseas Service Bar (representing six months service) and The World War II Victory Medal. Returning home to East Jordan, Carey went to work for The East Jordan Public Schools in 1947 as the School Custodian serving for 30 years where he touched the lives of countless students and teachers and gained many lifelong friends retiring in 1977.
From 1977 to 1984 he worked for Northwestern State Bank in East Jordan as a bank courier and gardener.
During retirement Carey remained active in his community serving as Chaplain for The Military Order of The Purple Heart and Disabled American Veterans.
He enjoyed hunting and fishing and was an avid photographer and was an elder in the Community of Christ Church performing many marriages, funerals and other special services.
He received The Citizen of The Year, served on the cities Elm Pointe Commission and Portside Historical Society and he was involved in 4-H Club, Little League and many school activities.
On Jan. 5th, 2002 Mercer Harding Carey answered the final call and is being honored by his wife Bernice, children Bud, Donna, George, Marty, 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 at The American Legion Post located on the corner of South Lake and Main streets in Boyne City, Mich. at 6:15 p.m.