Monday, May 31, 2010
Back in January of 1997, I was a police officer with the City of Bothell WA. I remember hearing the news that the first black man from WWII was going to receive the Medal of Honor for his bravery. Actually seven were to receive the medal but because of the delay, only one was still living. His name is Vernon Baker. I told one of my fellow workers, at the department, Mike Stone, that I was overwhelmed with the courage this man had been recognized for. My then wife Julie and I were raising my grandson at the time, who is part Black and part Chippewa, which made these events seem very personnel. Vernon lived in a small town in Idaho. I remember saying to my work mate, Mike, "I bet that his phone number is still listed," and I was right. I received his number from information and promptly called Mr. Vernon Baker's residence. His wife, Heidy answered the phone. I explained to her who I was and that I wanted to say thank you and congratulations to her husband. Mr. Baker came to the phone and I was able to spend a good 10 minutes talking to this remarkable hero. I asked him if I was ever in the area where he lived if he would mind if I called him again and met with him so my grandson could shake his hand. He readily agreed however I admit I dropped the ball and never made the trip. I have some serious regrets about that. At any rate I feel good that I had a chance to talk to Mr. Baker on the phone. It will truly be one call I will keep close to my patriotic heart.
Update: Vernon Baker passed away on July 13th, 2010