By Anne Eickstadt

ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTO Belvidere Republican
Lowell Wagner was presented with a plaque by the Robert Ryder of the VA office declaring him to be the ‘2018 Veteran of the Year’ during his 95th birthday celebration.


“I am astounded by all this,” said Lowell Wagner at his birthday party on Wednesday, April 17. “Bob Ryder organized this. I am so grateful for all this. I am tickled to death. I was surprised that the party is this big. I thank Robert for doing this. I appreciate Robert.”

Veterans, family, and friends thronged the Veterans Assistance offices, leaving standing room only – out in the hallway.

Wagner was presented with a plaque by the Robert Ryder of the VA office declaring him to be the ‘2018 Veteran of the Year’ and with a specially handcrafted red, white, and blue lapghan by Charlotte Kennedy of Sgt. P’s Lapghans for Veterans organization. Two television reporters made their way through the crowd to interview Wagner. State Senator Steve Stadelman also took the time to drop by the celebration.

Wagner had planned on attending Charleston College when he graduated high school, “But the Navy decided otherwise.” He served as a SeaBee (nickname for ‘C.B.’ from Construction Battalion – United States Naval Construction Battalion) during his years of service. “We used shoveling equipment,” he said. “Filling in holes in the runways from Japanese bombing. We built airfields, dredged harbors, and built infrastructure. When we needed to, we picked up guns and fought as well.

“I served in the South Pacific, on Okinawa, Iwo Jima, and Guadalcanal. On Guadalcanal, a couple of our men were shot by snipers. That’s the closest I got to danger. The Seabees took a bulldozer with a flamethrower, and stopped the snipers.

“The Navy did a wonderful job in the South Pacific in World War II. The Japanese were good fighters but we had too much equipment. They couldn’t compete with that. The Navy did a good job in Europe, a beautiful job.

“During World War II we were on very few supplies. You couldn’t get gas, oil, bacon, or sugar here at home. In the Navy, we had good food and clean beds every night.

“My advice for kids today? When they receive a draft notice – go. Believe in God, do what they’re told to do. There’s nothing wrong with the draft.”

The day following the party was the Wagners’ 39th wedding anniversary. Congratulations, Lowell and Marjorie (Midge)!

Buy Viagra Overnight Delivery USA.