“We’re a rare breed these days,” she remarked. “All WWII vets are, especially women.”
Lincolnshire, IL (PRWEB) November 10, 2014
By 1945, at the end of WWII, less than three percent of American military personnel were women. Barbara “Bobbie” Merritt was one of them. A resident of Sedgebrook, a senior living community in Lincolnshire, Bobbie achieved the rank of Chief Petty Officer inthe Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), serving in Arlington, Virginia. “My brothers were far too young at the time to go into the service, so I went,” said Bobbie. Listening to the confident, forthright woman, it’s not hard to imagine her away from the home front. “It was war time; I wanted to join,” she said.
Last August, Bobbie and her daughter, Sandra Lyons, took a three-day honor flight with the Veterans Network Committee of Northern Illinois, out of Fox Grove. Bobbie cannot say enough about the quality of this organization and its leader, Randy Granath. Choosing this flight because of its extended trip to Washington, D.C., (with time spent in Baltimore, Maryland) and the allowance of relatives to be veterans’ companions, Bobbie raved about the organization she first learned of when Mr. Granath visited Sedgebrook. “I said, ‘that’s what I want.’ They did an absolutely wonderful job. We were treated to two honorary dinners, and everywhere we went, people knew who we were. They were expecting us at the airports, where we were applauded.”
Of the 24 veterans in her honor flight group, Bobbie was the only woman. While they visited all of the war memorials in our national’s capital, the high point for Bobbie was the Iwo Jima Memorial. “For me, that memorial represents WWII; those men raised our flag when I was in Washington and still in the service.” Bobbie also enjoyed visiting the Women’s Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, of which she is a charter member.
Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Bobbie began her military training in 1943 and completed her duties with the WAVES’ bureau of personnel in 1946. Living most of her life in Kansas towns, with a career in commercial real estate, Bobbie received a B.A. in Economics in 1984 by going to night school. “I wanted to go to college when I got out of the service, but the schools were inundated with returning veterans getting an education on the GI bill.”
In 1997, the veteran retired from the working world. “What did I do then?” she says. “Whatever I wanted!” Six years ago, she moved to Sedgebrook to be closer to her family in north shore Illinois. “I still have that same degree of freedom here that I had when I retired—I do what I want, when I want.” At Sedgebrook, doing what she wants includes thrice-weekly exercise classes, line dancing, and “anything else that’s going on—which is a lot!” she says. A member of Sedgebrook’s ROVEO club (Retired Old Vets Eating Out), Bobbie is one of very few women veterans at Sedgebrook, or anywhere. “We’re a rare breed these days,” she remarked. “All WWII vets are, especially women.”
Sedgebrook will hold a special Veterans’ Day event on Tuesday, November 11 at 11 a.m. Midwest Palliative and Hospice will provide refreshments and patriotic pins for the residents and will sponsor keynote speaker, Rabbi Brian Comrov, a member of the Navy Reserves. “We are honored to have a number of veterans who are residents of Sedgebrook,” said Ryan Springer, community resources coordinator. “This event will allow us to pay tribute to these fine men and women .” For additional information call Ryan Springer at 847-876-2373.
Sedgebrook is a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) offering a diverse lifestyle, maintenance-free living and outstanding amenities. Five-star rated Radford Green Health Care and Rehabilitation is located on the 92-acre Sedgebrook campus in Lincolnshire, Illinois. Sedgebrook is owned by Senior Care Development LLC and managed by Life Care Services LLC. For additional information visit http://www.WelcomeToSedgebrook.com or call 847-901-3319.