BLACKSTONE, Va. -- In the small town of Blackstone, Virginia, Jimmie Morgan is like a big celebrity.
While the 95-year-old is still moving forward, if you listen closely Mr. Morgan can take you way back.
Jimmie is a spry World War II veteran with stories aplenty.
“They drafted me because they were short of men,” Morgan shared. “I was nothing but a baby. Nothing but a baby.”
In 1943, an 18-year-old Morgan entered the United States Army.
After months of training, Morgan was sent to the war raging across Europe.
The Virginian’s first taste of war came on the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean when a U-Boat’s torpedo killed 14 men who were buried at sea.
“We got torpedoed by the Germans,” Morgan said. “That was a sad thing to see the 14 men in the water.”
Because the military was segregated, Morgan was assigned to an all-Black quartermaster unit.
“Anytime you got a call you had to go,” he said.“When we moved, we moved at night.”
Morgan and his fellow soldiers were in charge of rushing food and firearms to the front-line soldiers. A perilous job especially with bombs falling around his convoy.
“Everyone was hollering ‘No’ we are going to get killed!’ I said ‘No be quiet. We’re going to move,’” he recalled.
Throughout the war Jimmie Morgan never let segregation prevent him from striving for excellence.
“I got along with everyone,” he said.
Following the war, Morgan returned to his native Nottoway County and started a family.
He settled in Blackstone and worked as a foreman at a logging company for decades.
He still lives independently.
Thomas Wynn called his grandfather the perfect role model.
“Don’t reflect on the good or bad. Just focus on the task at hand. They gave him a job. He did the job,” Wynn said. “God’s gift. Granddad is God’s gift. He looks better at 95 than I do at 50.”
Wynn said one of his most cherished memories was visiting the WWII Memorial in Washington with his grandfather by his side.
“It meant everything to my wife and kids and for my kids to see it. Granddad was a part of that. They read about it and studied it in school. And their grandfather was actually there and lived it,” Wynn.
Jimmie Lee Morgan. A man reflecting on a life well-lived. And a veteran who did his duty.
“I made it,” Morgan said. “I was proud to do it. I was blessed and really happy.”
“I’m proud,” Wynn added. “I’m proud. My grandfather fought in World War II.”
When he is not attending church at Celler Creek Baptist Church, . Morgan can be found at Farmer’s Cafe Restaurant several times a week.
Greg McQuade features local heroes in a weekly “Heroes Among Us” segment. Watch Greg’s reports Thursdays on CBS News at 6 or here on WTVR.com. If you would like to nominate someone to be featured on “Heroes Among Us,” click here to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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