BRITT | Sept. 19 proved to be a “real special night” for World War II veteran Clive Wyke of Britt.
Before a crowded veterans hall Wyke, 89, a U.S. Navy veteran, was recognized for his 63 years of “outstanding and dedicated service” to the Britt American Legion Post 315 and “meritorious and distinguished service in furthering the aims and ideals” of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4370.
“It was quite a surprise,” he said.
Wyke enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a 17-year-old as a sophomore at Rockwell High School, where he was struggling to get good grades.
“I thought it was the easy way out,” he said.
He served in the Navy for 18 months, including time on the USS Pennsylvania, a battleship that was torpedoed in 1945 while heading to Japan.
“It ended our voyage, and then, three days later, the war was over,” he said.
After returning to Rockwell after being discharged, Wyke said he returned to high school to earn his diploma. He graduated from high school at 19.
Wyke arrived in Britt while working in the carpet industry with his father before securing a job at a furniture store downtown for several years and starting his own business in 1959. Around the same time, Wyke was approached to join the American Legion and VFW.
“It was something to do,” he said.
During his time as an American Legion and VFW member, Wyke served as commander of each several times. He enjoyed attending the meetings and spending time with fellow veterans — some of which were in attendance for his special recognition.
Wyke said when Jerry Christensen, a member of the local American Legion and VFW, asked him to attend the meeting, he had no idea he was going to be recognized, but he grew more suspicious when he arrived to a parking lot full of cars and saw his family in attendance.
“Then I knew something was up,” he said.
Christensen, who spearheaded the ceremony, said the American Legion and VFW wanted to recognize Wyke for his years or service to the organizations.