By Sterling McGinn

Newberry resident and veteran Dale Hardy was recently honored by the Tri-County Veteran’s Fund for his service to the United States during the Vietnam War.

The recognition took place on Sunday, April 2 at the American Legion Post in Newberry.

Hardy was surprised with the honor, which was presented just prior to his Sunday Euchre games.

Rudy Johnson, a member of the Tri-County Veteran’s Fund Board presented Hardy with a hand-made quilt depicting an eagle and an American Flag. He also received a blanket with a design of the Wounded Warriors flag.

Hardy will be attending a Vietnam Veterans reunion in Louisiana this month with his wife, Deb, and was given the recognition and items as a good send off to the reunion.

“Dale is a decorated Vietnam Veteran, and we are proud to present this to him,” said Mark Maida, the commander of the Hulbert American Legion.

Hardy is a native of Newberry and a 1967 graduate of Newberry High School. He later attended the Alberta Forestry Center, which was operated by Michigan Tech. There he studied forestry related topics for nine months.

Interrupting his plans, Hardy was drafted for military duty in 1969, taking basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky and advanced individual training at Fort Polk, Louisiana.

Hardy eventually became a U.S. Army Ranger and was sent to Vietnam in July of 1970. After being in Vietnam for nearly a year, Hardy was badly wounded and spent a year recovering in the hospital.

“Being in the hospital was kind of a decompress, and a group therapy with the other guys,” he said. Hardy is a Purple Heart recipient.

He was honorably discharged from the Army returned to his pursuits in forestry.

“I got a job running a chainsaw and cleared rights-of-ways for Consumers Power,” Hardy said. “The company went bankrupt, so I came back up here and ran skidders and chainsaws.” He also worked at the potato farm on and off for a period of about 20 years.

Hardy has been a member of the American Legion Post 74 of Newberry for 49 years, and currently serves as the Post Service Officer. Post Service Officers help ensure that veterans and their dependents receive their earned benefits.

He was awarded a lifetime membership several years ago by fellow Legionnaires.

Hardy is also a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Vietnam Veterans of America, and the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

In 1986, Hardy and some of the men he served with held a reunion at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The group still occasionally gets together for a reunion or a fishing trip to Alaska.

Hardy feels very honored that the Tri-County Veteran’s Board chose to recognize him, even if he is puzzled about why he was selected. “It means a lot to get it,” he said.

Hardy and his wife, Deb, have two sons: Josh and Justin, and two grandchildren: Jarod and Jordana.

The Tri-County Veterans Fund honors and assists many area veterans and their families by providing house maintenance, assistance with utilities payments, and with medical equipment.

The organization collects donations from the many combat boots placed at businesses within Chippewa, Luce and Mackinac counties.