January’s Veteran Of The Month: Wes McCoy
Wes McCoy grew up on a farm near Grand Forks, ND and attended college at NDSU (North Dakota State University) both before and following his service in the USMC.
Wes and his wife, Mary, (now deceased) raised five children in Michigan and Edina, MN. He has six grand children who live in MN, MD and IL. He spent most of his business career in Ag Sales with The Dow Chemical Company (37 years). He now enjoys “maintenance-free living” at the Gramercy Park Cooperatives in Richfield.
Wes has been a special speaker at elementary schools where he tells about his experiences living through WWII, and the stories that came from that war. Additionally, he visits with veterans at the VA Hospital, and lines up the entertainment and emcees a weekly social gathering in his condo, takes daily walks followed by coffee with friends and goes to dinner with several groups weekly.
Wes McCoy is a real war hero, and it’s an honor to have him as January’s “Veteran of the Month”
Words from Jim Pekarek, Minnetonka Middle School East teacher:
Wes McCoy first spoke to my Minnetonka middle school students as a Veteran’s Day speaker in 2000. He’s the best guest speaker I’ve ever had in class and he’s been back every year since. He’s spoken now to over 1800 students. In November 2000, it was the first time he had ever spoken to a crowd about his experience. This is a difficult thing for combat veterans to do. Wes explained that with so many veterans leaving us each year, he realized that to honor their memory the story needed to be told. He is a natural story teller able to capture and maintain the interest of students throughout his presentation. He makes students laugh with his stories of boot camp, and nearly brings them to tears realizing the tragic cost of war when he tells of his buddy who died after assaulting two caves that had their entire unit pinned down on Okinawa. He says near the end of his presentation that he’s proud of what the marines and others did to win World War II because it had to be done, but he also hopes that the students never have to go through anything like it in their lives. I can tell that students understand better after he speaks what war is really about. He inspires them to want to share stories of veterans in their own families, and others to ask questions around the dinner table to find out more about their family history. I am thankful for every year that Wes returns to share his story to a new batch of students.