U.S. Army Veteran, Harold Wesmiller Builds Wooden Toys for Children: Remembering Our Veterans
Our weekly series, Remembering our Veterans, continues with the story of 96 year-old World War 2 veteran Harold Wesmiller.
When his military responsibilities ended, he started a career in banking that lasted over 40 years. For many at the age of 65 it's time to kick back and enjoy life, but that's when Harold continued to prove his commitment to community service.
He served two years and two months in the U.S. Army beginning in 1944, volunteering for a tour of duty in World War 2, he was only 18 years and was quickly named a replacement for the men at the Battle of the Bulge.
"I think everyone should be in the service, I think we should have a mandatory draft for men and women for at least 2 years," said Harold. "I was proud to serve my country, I've had some interesting experiences over there. I always stand when the National Anthem is being played."
Born in St. Mary's, PA and a graduate of Port Allegany High School, Harold started his second career after banking that lasted 23 years. He helps out five days a week at the Santa's Helpers Workshop making Christmas toys out of wood.
"I had a friend who was sort of the leader down here, and he called me up, he knew I was interested in woodworking, and I chose to volunteer," said Harold.
Last year, Harold and his hard working teammates made over 2,000 toys for over 25 Erie non-profits. Part of the reason he does the work is from a heat breaking memory as a child.
"Back in 1937-38, I was in 12 or 13 years old and the country was in some pretty bad shape and I didn't get any toys," said Harold. "One Christmas an orange, I was happy."
His day starts bright and early and he's the first one at the facility to start the work week..
"I get here about a quarter after 5 everyday, 5 days a week," said Harold. "I drive myself here, and drive myself back home."
Still driving and still a big fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins, not only does he know the roster, but the salary cap situation and pending free agents.
He has four children, two still live in Erie. And every Sunday he goes to his daughter's house for dinner.
Harold Wesmiller, thank you for your service.