Vet View

Vans return; new clinic to open soon

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The veterans are back riding the vans. This month the office has received 38 phone calls and 11 visitors. I will be at the American Legion Post 72 in Crawfordsville from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. today to give support to any veteran or spouse who needs it.

The new VA clinic at Brownsburg is tentatively set to open Oct. 1. It is located at 557 Pitt Road, Brownsburg.

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Long before they learned of his bravery in combat, Charles Henry Coolidge’s sons recognized there was something special about their dad. Everyone in Chattanooga, Tennessee, knew him, and people always called to consult or confide in him.

“It was because of who he was as a person,” said Charles Coolidge Jr., a retired Air Force lieutenant general. “As I say, he was a man of honor before he was awarded the Medal of Honor.”

Coolidge died April 6, 2021, four months shy of his 100th birthday. He was the oldest living Medal of Honor recipient and a 77-year member of the American Legion.

Coolidge entered the Army in 1942. He fought in North Africa, Italy, France and Germany, and was awarded the Silver Star for his actions at Vellerti in May 1944. In October 1944, near Belmont-sur-Buttant, Coolidge led an inexperienced and isolated group of soldiers under fire from German infantry. Outnumbered 4 to 1, the tech sergeant and his men repelled attacks for three days, until an enemy tank rolled within 30 yards of their position. From the turret, a soldier called in English, “Want to give up? Looking him in the face, Coolidge replied, “I’m sorry Mac, you.” He dodged five shots from the tank and began tossing grenades after his bazooka failed, killing some 20 Germans before coordinating a withdrawal. For his actions, he received the nation’s highest award for valor.

Coolidge worked for the VA for a short time, then returned to run Chattanooga Printing & Engraving until his retirement at 95.

 

Joe Ellis is the Montgomery County Veterans Officer. He can be reached at the Montgomery County Office Building, 110 W. South Blvd., Crawfordsville, IN 47933; by email at joe.ellis@montgomeryco.net; by landline telephone at 361-4133; or by cellphone at 765-401-0432.

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