I recently learned that Donald Schwab is to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. He was a decorated war hero in World War II. As a First Lieutenant, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts during his tour of duty in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and France. On Sept. 17, 1944, Schwab led a dwindling group of men in a charge against a line of German machine guns. With his men falling around him, he rushed the enemy alone. “The action so disorganized the enemy troops that they abandoned their defenses and withdrew.”
I remember Don well. The Schwabs lived across the street from us all the years I was growing up in Hooper, Nebraska. His daughter, Susan, was my best friend. The Schwab family will travel to Washington, D.C., for the March 18 ceremony.
After the war, Don became a postman, delivering mail in the country (always in a red station wagon so they could see him driving up the road). He was also a volunteer fireman, and we would see him running toward the fire station when the whistle blew.
After work, Don would play outside with his five children and the many neighborhood kids. Kick soccer was our favorite. I remember that almost every evening, Don would take his wife Maralee out for a ride around Hooper in the red station wagon, so she could get out of the house.
One day I ran away from home (I must have been about four or five). As I was walking down the road, the red station wagon pulled up. The neighborhood kids had sent Don after me. I don’t remember what he said, but I rode home with him and everything was okay.
What a wonderful man, and what a great life he had. I’m so happy for his family.