This is Eugene
Eugene Stapelton wasn’t about to let his youth or the government guidelines for military recruitment stop him from fighting in WWII. At only 16 he was gifted with a larger stature and enough facial hair to fool the draft officers. Before long he found himself rushing front lines and killing the enemy in his Marine Corp uniform just as he had planned. He had envisioned what heroism looked like due to the stories handed down from his own father regarding all things military, yet storming beach after beach to simply save his own skin seemed to display the true reality of what war was really about. That is until he crossed paths with a severely wounded man he found half alive and buried in a shallow grave. He dug out the naked man without knowing if he was friend or foe, and immediately went to work on saving both their lives. He spent a week hiding the man from passing German soldiers while he tended his wounds. The man eventually recovered enough to reveal himself as the very young John Howard, AKA “Howser”. He had been conducting secret reconnaissance for the US government, when he was captured, shot and buried by the Germans. Needless to say John Howard never forgot his debt of gratitude to Eugene for saving his skin that day.
During the war Eugene met a beautiful Texan named Marlene and took the first opportunity he could to marry her. After the war had ended they settled on a farm in New Mexico to establish themselves. After the tragic unexpected death of their youngest son and daughter-in-law, they took on the responsibility of raising their two grandsons, Sam and Mackey. Eugene is passionate about three things: Family, Farming, and food. Sometimes he gets the order mixed up when Marlene whisks past him with a meat loaf fresh out of the oven and piping hot dinner rolls.
Favorite Food: “Bacon, fried chicken, pork chops, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, biscuits and gravy….hell I will eat everything Marlene puts in front of me.”
Favorite Weapon: “my 38 long nose revolver. I love those old style wheel guns, they never jam up, you can alway tell how many shots you have left, easy to load and clean. You can kill a rattler, gopher, coyote, or an intruder with a good old Colt.”
Relaxation: “I like to sit on the porch after a fat meal and watch the sun set over my farm.”
Favorite movies: “I watched the best movie the other day with Robert Duvall and Michael Cain: Second Hand Lions. It reminded me of myself and Earl.”
Favorite music: “Oh just anything subtle I suppose. Maybe some Roger Whitaker, or John Denver.”
Click here for information regarding PTSD in older Veterans
Click here to read an article in the Huffington Post regarding PTSD and Older veterans.
VETERANS SUICIDE HOTLINE- 1-800-273-8255
Veterans Crisis Line: Text- 838255
Call the 24/7 Veteran Combat Call Center to talk to another combat veteran: 1-877-WAR-VETS (1-877-927-8387