Navy Seamen Found Helping Hands in Sturgis

Family does the right thing; offers a ride and a fried chicken dinner to four stranded Navy Seamen in 1942.

| November/December 2012

In the summer of 1942, we lived on a farm 60 miles from Sturgis, South Dakota. In those days, every little community had a country store, a post office and occasionally a repair shop.

My dad and I were at one of those repair shops one day when four young sailors pushed their car in. It was about 11 a.m. The shop owner said he could fix the broken distributor, but the car wouldn’t be ready until 6 that evening.

The sailors were on their way from the Great Lakes area to California to ship out.

My dad, being the person he was, asked the boys if they wanted to ride in the pickup bed; he would take them to our place, feed them, and bring them back when the car was fixed. We lived about 20 miles from the shop. The boys agreed, so off we went.

After a fried chicken dinner with all the fixings, an afternoon of visiting and chores (an eye-opener for the four city-born sailors), we were ready to head back to the shop.

The car was fixed so that they could at least get into Sturgis to have the repairs completed — the car ran, but only at half power. When they got to Sturgis, the sailors couldn’t find anyone to repair the car, so they continued on to California.

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