When World War II is mentioned, D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge are two prominent events that come to mind. With November being a time to honor veterans, it's a privilege to highlight a local hero, Dan Furlong, who served in both of these battles.
Dan is originally from Seattle and graduated from Odea High School in June of 1942. That September he was drafted into the Army and was inducted in the airborne and received training at Fort Louis in Tacoma, Wash., and Camp Balden in Florida. Fort Bragg in North Carolina is where he attended jump school and became a paratrooper.
He went overseas Dec. 27, 1943, landing in Belfast Northern Ireland. After six weeks he went to Nottingham, England and then on D-Day, June 6, 1944, to France, where he jumped at 2 a.m. in the morning.
"It was awful," he said.
They knew about the mission because P37s had flown over and taken aerial photos, but the information was misleading because half of it was over water, not land, and that wasn't picked up on the photos.
"Lost a lot of guys who drowned, 250 to 300, out of 2,600 men. And only 800 came back to Normandy. I landed Chef Dupont, a river runs right there, and the objective was to take the bridges and hold them. We achieved our objective (and held the bridge). A day and a half later we were scattered all over (yet) managed to get together. I was wounded June 20 and was out of the hospital in August and jumped in Holland on Sept. 17. I was in Holland for 89 days and we held the bridge there. I came back to France around November, we trucked over, were at the battle the Germans broke through at the Battle of the Bulge. On Christmas night I got hit. I was 10 months in the hospital, shipped to hospitals in England, New York and Washington. I was given a medical discharge out of the army Sept. 18, 1945," he said.
While in the army he attained the rank of sergeant and received the Presidential Unit Citation, Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts and citations from the French, Belgium and Netherland governments.
In June of 1945, he married Delores "Dee" Jenson in Seattle. They were going together when she was in high school and she wrote every day. Dee died in 1989. They had three sons, Dan of Soldotna, Bill of Hawaii and Ken of Seattle. Three grandsons, one granddaughter and five great-grandsons all live in Alaska. Dan worked for Associated Grocers in Seattle for 28 years then moved to Soldotna in 1977. He is retired and is an honor guard with the Veterans of Foreign Wars; loves to hunt and fish and be with his grandkids.
Thanks Dan, and all veterans, for the personal sacrifice you have given for peace and freedom in the world.
Other Sterling news
Skyview High School student Caitlin A. Baalke has been selected for membership in the National Society of High School Scholars.
The society recognizes only top scholars who have achieved superior academic excellence.
Bowlin joins Navy
Akron, Ohio resident Navy Seaman Recruit Belinda T. Bowlin completed U.S. Navy basic training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill.
During the eight-week program, Bowlin completed classroom study and practical instruction on naval customs, first aid, firefighting, water safety and survival, and shipboard and aircraft safety. An emphasis was also placed on physical fitness.
She is the daughter of Brenda T. Bowlin of Soldotna and Scott Hall of Akron.
Bowlin is a 2007 graduate of Ellet High School of Akron.
Soldotna babies announced
* Barbara and Joshua Ferguson of Soldotna announce the birth of their son, Silas Xavier, at 10:55 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2007, at Woman's Way Midwifery in Soldotna. He weighed 8 pounds, 8 ounces.
Shona and John DeVolld of Soldotna announce the birth of their daughter, Sara Elizabeth, at 1:12 p.m. Monday, Sept. 17, 2007, at Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna. She weighed 9 pounds, 1 ounce and measured 21 inches.
She joins sister, Anna Kathleen, 2. Her grandparents are Robert and Sheila DeVolld and Tom and Sonja Redmond, all of Soldotna. Her great-grandparents are Virgil and Nyladine Redmond of Sterling, Gladys DeVolld of Caldwell, Ohio, Ted Lashley of Grant, Neb., and Pauline Schafer of Caldwell.
Whittney and Josh Tapley of Soldotna announce the birth of their daughter, Sophia Danae, at 7:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, 2007, in Soldotna. She weighed 8 pounds, 12 ounces and measured 20 inches.
She joins sister, Mercedes. Her grandparents are Doug Hallmark, Penny Hallmark, Jim Tapley and Chris Tapley, all of Kenai.
Skyview educator travels abroad
Skyview Asst. Principal Priscilla Shaw traveled in July to South Korea as part of the Korean Studies Workshop for American Educators program.
Shaw was one of 100 participants selected from more than 400 entries to attend. She attended lectures, met students and visited sites to learn about Korean history, economics and culture.
Youth snowmachine safety event set
Safe Kids Kenai Peninsula will hold a free snowmachine safety event Saturday at Soldotna Middle School. Youth ages 6 to 9 may attend from 9 to 11 a.m. and youth ages 10 to 14 may attend noon to 2 p.m. The course length is one and a half hours and families may attend anytime during their child's age group.
Youth DOT full face helmets may be purchased fro $25 after attending the safety stations. For more information, call 714-4539.
Senior center events announced
The Soldotna Senior Citizens Center will hold the following events: Today closed; Tuesday Cards and board games at 1 p.m.; Wednesday Cards at 10 a.m., music at 12:15, crafts at 1 p.m. and hula at 6 p.m.; Thursday art class at 10 a.m., blood pressure checks at 11 a.m. and shopping, cards and games at 1 p.m.; Friday Music at noon.
Happy birthday to Billi Kaho on Nov. 13; Martha Mault Nov. 15; and Roger Lalber on Nov. 18.
Soroptimists announce scholarship, grant, awards
Soroptimist International of the Kenai Peninsula are offering the following scholarships:
* Women of Opportunity Eligible applicants must be women who provide primary financial support for their families and who are enrolled in school or have been accepted to a vocational skills training program or an undergraduate degree program. The purpose of the award to assist women in overcoming personal difficulties and bettering their lives through education and skills training. A $500 cash grant to the winner, who then becomes eligible to receive region level awards.
Applications are available at Kenai Peninsula College, Kenai and Soldotna libraries, LeeShore Center or by calling Carole at 262-1997 or Kim at 252-8790. Deadline is Dec. 1.
* Violet Richardson Award Women ages 14 to 17 who volunteer in the community or at school may apply. The award is a $200 scholarship, plus a $200 award for the winners volunteer agency.
Applications are available at area schools or by calling Carole at 262-1997 or Kim at 252-8790. Deadline is Dec. 1.
* Making a Difference Award This award is designed to honor women in the community who are working to improve the lives of women and girls through their personal or volunteer lives. Deadline for nominations is Dec. 1. For nomination forms are available by calling, Carole at 262-1997 or Kim at 252-8790.
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