November 13, 2003

Arbela Veteran Made Return Home From World War II 58 Years Ago This Week

Fifty-eight years ago this week, Okie Boyer came home to Arbela. He returned the same way in which he left more than three years earlier, side by side with his twin brother Orville.

Unfortunately not all 22 friends and acquaintances that Okie left Scotland County with on August 18, 1942 ever returned home. The men traveled to Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis to join the United States Army to serve in World War II.

There were 22 of us that left to go into the service at that time, Okie said. There was Weldon Tague, Wayne Newman, myself and my brother plus a whole bunch of other guys from here.

Little did Okie know that the travel to St. Louis was just the beginning of his travels that would take him more than half way around the world where he would give his country more than two years of service in the Pacific Theater of World War II.

From St. Louis Okie went by train to Texas and then on to California where he arrived at Camp Roberts at 4:00 a.m. October 23.

After receiving his training Boyer shipped out from under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA, bound for Australia with the famous 32nd Division. The troops landed at Brisbane, Australia on March 2, 1943.

After arriving in Australia, Boyer was attached to the 126 Infantry Cannon Company and spent the next six months receiving training, such as beach landing techniques, which was taught at New Castle. New arrivals like himself were replacements for soldiers lost in the first stages of the conflicts in the Philippines as elements of the 32nd Division returned to Australia following the initial fighting with the Japanese.

The special training was put to use as Boyer and his comrades made their first hostile beach landing November 18 at Melony Bay in New Guinea.

In the down time between the fighting, the training continued. It was during one of these sessions that Boyers army career change was put in motion. During a series of hand-to-hand training sessions, Boyer injured his back.

I broke my back during the training and then we had to make a move and I was stuck driving a jeep all day long so it put me in a considerably foul mood by the end of the day, Boyer said. To make a long story short, Boyer said that he ended up in an argument with an officer that landed him on KP duty.

All of the old cartoons from WW II showed the solider stuck in a room piled high with potatoes as he peeled away. Well KP duty wasnt far from that, as Boyer was assigned to kitchen duty for a week.

But after Boyer stepped in for one of the cooks and did such a good job, his punishment quickly turned into a permanent job switch.

Id been handling heavy weapons, mortars and machine guns as well as serving in the motor pool, driving jeeps and moving the equipment, but they said I did such a good job that they made me a cook, Boyer said.

On days, Boyer probably would have rather been at the top of the hill facing the Japanese than slaving away in the kitchen preparing food for hungry soldiers.

He received a commendation for his work preparing Thanksgiving dinner.

Malaria had hit really bad and I was the only one left standing in the kitchen. I cooked seven turkeys and kept everyone happy and for that I received a T-4, 1st Cook advancement.

Of course the job change didnt keep Okie off the front lines. In December his unit moved on to Saidore for another beach landing. The fighting was so intense that for two weeks the troops were unable to set up a kitchen and were forced to eat K-rations.

How many of you set up on guard in enemy territory all night long, Boyer said. It was so weird as you would be awakened by the air raid siren, or shots being fired and then you would hear the coffee grinder or some other every day sound all with Charlie still within hearing distance.

By July, Boyers unit had made its way to Aitape and then on to Maraitai by the end of October.

They started 1945 off in the Phillipines at Leyte and then on to Luzan.

There were points that we were on guard at all times, Boyer said. We called it Hard Times. Basically it meant no sleep. There were 22 guns firing all night long.

This became the hardest part of the Boyers more than two years of active duty as in the next few months he was part of four moves that placed him on the infamous Villa Verde Trail.

They attacked, captured and guarded such places as Razor Back Mountain, the Gold Mining House and Hill 502.

Even during the heaviest fighting, Boyer kept up his duties, keeping the men fed.

There was 17 of us on this hill and we were told to hold it at all costs, Boyer said. One of the guys had a little camp stove and I knew the company had just received fresh supplies so I sneaked back to camp and got 18 pork chops and cooked them up for the boys, Boyer said. We stood guard night and day and watched the Japanese moving all around at the foot of the hill but they never mustered up the courage to attack us.

It was on Razor Back Mountain where Boyer again was in close contact with the enemy. Again the troops were relegated to rations, meaning no kitchen, meaning Okie was on guard duty.

We were guarding the outpost when a Nippie landed a grenade right into a fellows jaw, Boyer said. His buddy was quick enough to grab it and throw it back over the bank before it exploded preventing any more casualties, as the night before they had gotten one of the guards.

Boyers unit continued its work in the region moving on to Santa Fae in August of 1945 as the fight was winding down. It was in Santa Fae where Boyer was among eight cooks that set up an enormous kitchen that fed more than 2,000 soldiers twice a day.

As elements of the 32nd Division began mobilizing to move on to Japan, Boyer received notification that he was going home. On September 13, 1945 he shipped out from Luzan and was ultimately bound for the U.S.A. on September 26 from an Australian port. He spent the next 36 days on a ship before landing in Los Angeles on November 1.

Boyer got his official discharge on November 7 ending three years and 29 days in the service, of which two years, eight months and 21 days was given to foreign service.

On November 10, the day before Veterans Day, Okie Boyer and his brother, Orville, got off the bus at the Arbela Junction and got a ride from a local couple to the Arbela Church.

August 1st Blood Drive Asking Donors to ‘Knock it Outta the Park’

The American Red Cross Memphis Blood Drive will take place Tuesday, August 1st at the First Baptist Church in Memphis.  The blood drive is from 12:30-6:00 p.m. and all presenting donors will receive a commemorative St. Louis Cardinals Blood Drive T-shirt, while supplies last.

Healthy individuals are needed every day to maintain an adequate blood supply for patients in need. Once a donor has made the commitment to give blood, it is important to take a few simple steps to prepare and help ensure a good donation experience.

The Red Cross recommends getting a good night’s sleep, eating a good breakfast or lunch, drinking extra water and fluids to help replace the volume you will donate, avoid caffeinated beverages, and eating iron-rich foods to boost your iron level.

Donating blood is an easy way to help others and only takes about an hour of your time. The Red Cross encourages donors to give blood every time they are eligible: every 56 days for whole blood donations and every 112 days for double red cell donations.”

Donating blood is easy…simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

The American Red Cross provides shelter, food and clothing to victims of disasters; supplies more than 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; ministers international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at blog.redcross.org.

The need is constant. The gratification is instant. Give blood.'”

Petition Calls for Highway 15 Improvements North of Memphis

A rash of recent traffic accidents on Highway 15 north of town has led a local veterinarian to start a petition drive to drive to get improvements on the road.

Larry Wiggins, DMV, recently started a local petition drive and already has more than 200 signatures on the paperwork that is calling on the Missouri Department of Transportation to address the concerns.

“Too many of my friends have been hurt or killed in accidents on that road,” said Wiggins. “It is time to try to do something about it.”

Doc started the petition last week after hearing other area residents share their frustrations about the road, its current condition and the lack of improvements being made by the state.

“I’ve talked with lots of folks who have called MoDOT or other government officials and felt like they haven’t got anywhere,” he said. “It left us feeling like one person alone really cannot get anything accomplished. That’s what led to this petition drive. Hopefully a whole lot of voices coming together will make sure our concerns are heard.”

Wiggins highlighted the narrow bridges on Highway 15, the general lack of shoulders as well as the declining road surface itself.

“I had a customer in from Iowa last week who had brought her dog down for care,” he said. “Her car was side swiped on that narrow bridge just north of town.”

That is just one of the signatures on the petition. Countless others have followed suit, with a number of serious accidents recently on the road, including one fatality.

“The road edges are in horrible shape, and there is a six to eight inch drop off in most places along the shoulder,” said Wiggins. “When people’s vehicles drop off that, that leads to over correcting when they come back on to the road and we’re seeing lots of accidents because of it.”

Wiggins said he hopes to get at least 1,000 signatures before he and several other concerned citizens plan to travel to the Hannibal regional office of MoDOT to deliver it personally.

“If that doesn’t get their attention, then we’ll head right on down to Jefferson City and deliver it there until we can get something done,” he said.

Anyone interested in signing the petition can stop by the Scotland County Veterinary Clinic in Memphis or catch Dr. Wiggins in person.

Memorial Services Thursday for David Hayes

FAIRFIELD, IOWA – Memorial services for James David Hayes, 53, of Fairfield will be at 10 a.m., Thursday, July 20th at the Barker Cemetery.   Officiating the service will be Larry Smith, pastor of the Downing Christian Church.

James David Hayes died Sunday, July 16, 2017 at his home in Fairfield.

Memorials are suggested to the family and can be left at or mailed to the Gerth Funeral Service, 115 S. Main St., Memphis, MO 63555.

He is the son of David and Bonnie Hayes of Memphis.

A complete obituary will appear in next week’s edition.

Condolences may be sent to Mr. Hayes’ family by signing the online guestbook at gerthfuneralservice.com.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Gerth Funeral Service.

State Regent Visits Local DAR Chapters

Susan Fain Bowman, MSSDAR Regent, was honored by her area DAR Chapters during her annual June visit to all Missouri DAR Chapters.

Schuyler County Chapter, MSSDAR, with Clark County Chapter and Jauflione Chapter as co-host, feted Regent Susan Fain Bowman, MSSDAR, with an afternoon social, June 16, 2017.

Following opening ritual, Regent Bowman presented an interesting program featuring the role of Missouri DAR Chapters during WW1.  Regent Bowman had a slide presentation featuring numerous pictures of these activities. An especially interesting item was a picture of a 1916 ambulance purchased by Missouri Daughters of the American Revolution.

Regent Bowman also told the group of her enthusiasm for the WW1 museum in Kansas City.  She urged everyone to visit this WW1 memorial.

All Missouri Chapters are honoring the 100th anniversary of WW1.

Light refreshments were served by Schuyler County DAR, the host Chapter, along with Clark County and Jauflione Chapters. Everyone enjoyed a pleasant social hour.

City of Downing Addresses Property Concerns

The Board of the City of Downing convened at 6:00 p.m. on July 10, 2017 with Mayor Alan Garrett presiding. Present were Aldermen Bill Anderson, Ray Bange, Gene Bruner, and Hannah Poe; City Clerk, Carol Dryden and Water/Waste Water Operator, Larry Smith.

Copies of the agenda, minutes from previous meeting, water/waste water report, deposits & disbursements and account balances were given to those present

Mayor Alan Garrett called the meeting to order.

A motion to approve the agenda was made by Ray Bange and seconded by Bill Anderson and carried unanimously.

A motion to approve the minutes from the presiding meeting was made by Bill Anderson and seconded by Gene Bruner and carried unanimously.

A motion to approve the bills was made by Bill Anderson and seconded by Gene Bruner and carried unanimously.

Visitors: Joe Webker, Schuyler County Sheriff came to talk to us about how we can get someone to patrol our town and help in the issuing of citations for the problems we are having with people not cleaning up their properties.  Ben Gray, Attorney: came to talk to us about how we can legally go about getting the unlivable properties taken care f. He will be doing more research on this and get back to us.

Water/ Waste Water: Nothing to report.

Street Maintenance: We got some more rock delivered, still more to come. Several ditches around town need to be dug out so water can flow better when it rains.

Cemetery: Sold 2 plots to Junior and Millie Elliott. Received $30.00 from Darrell Downing for a memorial for Fred Havens. Received a donation to the cemetery for $100.00 from Arthur Robinson.

Old or Unfinished Business: Carol talked to Cheryl Elliott about the PER report and things are moving forward. Larry has been working on painting the parking lines.

New Business: Nothing to report.

Positive Thoughts: Trying to keep stepping forward toward getting improvements made in the town.

A motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:20 was made by Bill Anderson and seconded by Gene Bruner and carried unanimously.

Submitted by Carol Dryden, City Clerk

SCMA Back-to-School Fair Set for August 5th

The Scotland County Ministerial Alliance is sponsoring the Back-to-School Supply Fair once again this year.  The purpose of the event is to encourage and bless families in Scotland County by providing the necessary school supplies needed by their student/students to have a successful start to the upcoming school year.

Pre-registration for the event is Thursday, July 20, 2017 from 5:00-6:30 p.m.  Pre-registration is located outside, under the overhang, at the SCR-1 Elementary School entrance.  Parents may pre-register their kids through Thursday, July 27, 2017 by contacting Marie Ebeling or through a local church.

A packing party to organize supplies is scheduled for Thursday, August 3, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. at the home of Curtis and Marie Ebeling.

Distribution of the supplies will take place during Ignite Ministries’ Back-to-School Bash on Saturday, August 5, 2017 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on the Memphis Square.

If you are interested in helping with any of the above events, please contact Marie Ebeling at 465-2445 or 660-342-0917.

Meeting Planned to Provide Input into Federal Conservation Programs

A local working group charged with identifying local priority resource concerns and providing input about program criteria to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will meet at 2 p.m. July 27th at The Edina USDA Service Center.

The working group is comprised primarily of representatives of various local, state and federal agencies with knowledge of natural resource concerns. Specifically, the group will help prioritize selection criteria for NRCS’ Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) applications in Knox, Scotland, Lewis and Clark counties. The meeting is open to the public and will include time for comments from residents of the represented counties. While final decisions will be made by NRCS leadership, local input is requested. Anyone needing accommodation to participate in this meeting should contact Ashley Johnson at the Edina Service Center seven days prior to the meeting.

For more information, contact Ashley Johnson at 660-3972223 or email ashley.johnson@mo.udsa.gov

Burlington Woman Killed in Crash Near Cantril

A Burlington, IA woman was killed and six passengers in her vehicle sustained serious injuries in a one-car crash just east of Cantril, IA on Highway 2 at approximately 3:30 p.m. on Friday, July 14th.

According to the Iowa State Patrol, Mindy Raye Johnson, 26, was eastbound on Highway 2 in a 2005 Mercury Mariner when the SUV went off the right side of the roadway onto the gravel shoulder. The driver overcorrected and the vehicle returned to the roadway and traveled off the left side of the roadway, traveling down a steep embankment on the north side of the road where it overturned before coming to rest on its wheels in a cornfield.

Johnson was pronounced deceased at the accident scene.

April I. Maul, 36, of Burlington suffered serious injuries as well as two eight-year-old passengers. They were taken to University Hospital in Iowa City. Another eight-year-old passenger, a five-year-old passenger and a three-year-old passenger were also injured in the wreck and transported to Van Buren County Hospital.

The Patrol was assisted at the scene by the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office.

Stolen Vehicle Recovered in Memphis

A follow-up review after a routine traffic stop in Memphis over the weekend has uncovered a stolen vehicle that authorities believe may also have ties to a local burglary.

According to the Memphis Police Department, a white Honda Civic was stopped near Gas & More on Friday evening, July 14th at 10:30 p.m. The driver of the vehicle, Chanyel T. Crow, III, 27, of Kansas City, formerly of Memphis, was ticketed for no valid driver’s license. During the stop it was determined that Crow was wanted on probation violation warrant, and he was subsequently taken into custody and transported to the Scotland County Jail.

On Sunday, officers returned to the vehicle, which had not been moved from the original stop location in the Gas & More parking lot. Further inspection of the vehicle revealed that the license plates on the car, while for a White Honda Civic, did not match the vehicle VIN number. Further investigation revealed that the car had been stolen out of Kansas City.

A passenger in the vehicle, Sky White, 21, of O’Fallon, is now being sought for questioning in a local theft investigation.

Anyone with knowledge of her whereabouts is asked to contact the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office at 660-465-2106.

Downing House Museum Complex Awarded $2000 US Bank Grant

US Bank representative Bill Kiddoo presents a check for $2,000 from the US Bank Foundation to Downing House Museum volunteers Rhonda McBee and Julie Clapp.

This grant project, “Opening the Doors of the Past to Future Generations” focuses on an effort to provide a greater number of our community’s children aged 12 and under, the opportunity to participate in historical and cultural activities. The ultimate desired outcome is to “Open the doors of the past to our future generations” by providing children with opportunities to actually view the past and apply the information to the current world today. Oftentimes, students read about history, but without actually visiting and participating in activities with historical significance they cannot experience the history of our community and state and apply it to their own lives. We want to bring history to life for our younger generations.

With this in mind, the Downing House Museum Complex in Memphis, Missouri was awarded a US Bank Grant to provide area students (an estimated 200 3rd graders), tours of the Downing House Museum Complex at no charge. Typically, the cost for tours is $5 per person and schools often do not have available funds to provide local field trips. A trip to the museum complex could enhance the study of local Missouri history for area students in counties surrounding Scotland County that are within a 30 mile radius of Memphis, MO. The museum offers Civil War History and the battles fought in Missouri, railroad history, famous Missourians such as Ella Ewing and Tom Horn, historical musical instruments, medical equipment used throughout the early days of Missouri’s statehood, Indian artifacts, blacksmithing history, and many items that were invented and manufactured in Missouri. Additionally this grant will provide 50 tickets to children aged 12 and under (priced at $5 each for a total of $250) at no cost for the “2nd Annual Evening at the Museum, Candlelight Tour of the Past” event on October 13 & 14, 2017. These tickets will be offered on a first come first served basis and children must be accompanied by an adult. The evening event is being planned based on the great success of our first candlelight tour, held in October 2016.

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