News & Stories

Decorated Veteran Fought at Iwo Jima


Jesse is a talker, and at age 83 he has plenty of stories to share. He is a decorated veteran. He fought at Iwo Jima and earned five combat medals and two bronze stars during his military service. He recounted his military experiences in a book called China Marine and often is invited to Veterans Day events.

The topic he likes to discuss the most is his son Jay. He raised Jay as a single parent and the two made a great father-son team on the basketball court — Jesse as coach and Jay as the star player. Together, the two clinched a high school state basketball championship in Maine. Later, they took their talents to the University of Maine.

After relocating to Indiana, Jesse continued to pursue a career in teaching and coaching. Today, his son is a principal with Speedway Schools. The two talk every day and his son visits three times a week.

Jesse says “wear and tear” and arthritis left little cartilage in his knees. Walking is now difficult so he uses two canes or a motorized scooter to get around. A CICOA-provided home health aide helps him complete tasks like housekeeping and personal care on a weekly basis. The visits provide an opportunity for extra companionship — and an audience for his great stories.