Okay, first things first.

That young man pictured above didn't hit a hundred. He left the planet at 86. But on August 3rd, he would have been a hundred. So for that part, yes I stretched the truth a wee little bit.

But the 'Hero' part? 100% absolutely true.

Born on a farm near a small town named Trosky, Minnesota, he wasn't well known at all except maybe in Trosky, Leota, Chandler, Lismore, Edgerton, Kenneth, Hardwick and other small towns that dot the southwest corner of Minnesota. And really, he wasn't any more well known than the hundreds of other heroes that lived in and around those small towns.

He wasn't unique in being a 'hero'. I grew up with these people all around me. I didn't know it then, but I do now: I was lucky.

That guy pictured up there, that dashing young ladies man, made it through the 7th grade and that was enough schooling (I learned all I need, he'd say). He grew up during the Great Depression and then was off to Europe during World War Two (that's where the picture above was taken). Normandy, France, The Battle of the Bulge, into Germany building bridges.

And then back home and married a pretty young lady that would be his bride for 60 years. Two boys these two had, and so he had to support a family. And he did, right there just a few miles or so from where he grew up.

Farmed. Drove a Rendering Truck. Helped dig wells. Feed grinding for neighbors close by and a bit farther off. Cut iron into scrap. With a 7th grade education, a guy tends to do a little of this and a little of that.

Hunting? Check. Fishing? Check. Trapping? Check. Being outdoors, in the summer heat or the winter cold, was always good.

And the best part of all? He was a World Class Dad. Not a World-Class Father, a World Class Dad.

You see, while the rest of the world called him Marvin, my brother and me, we got to call him Dad (Except for those teenage years when he was 'the old man').

No sir, he was not a unique hero. There were, and are, millions. But this one would have been a hundred years old August 3rd. I still can't quite wrap that around my brain, that my Dad was born a century ago. And my Mom? She'd have been a sprightly 94 the end of July.

Thank goodness I got to be a part of their incredible lives.

Enter your number to get our free mobile app