Hometown Heroes: Honoring Clark and Champaign County veterans

Name: John Derr

Hometown: Springfield

Current Residence: Springfield.

Family: Wife, Peggy; children, Todd and Stacey; and three grandchildren.

Career after the military: Ohio Edison meter-man for 35 years, retired in 2008.

Hobbies: Mostly enjoying my grandchildren.

Branch of Service: United States Marine Corps.

Did you join the military or were you drafted? Enlisted.

Deployments/Bases: Cherry Point, N.C.; Da Nang, Vietnam; El Toro, Calif.

Years of serve: 1967 to 1971

Total time that you served? Four years

What did you do in the service? Rifleman, Tactical Air Command Center

What did you gain from serving in the military? I grew to become a man, be disciplined, loyal to my fellow marines, and to serve my community and help those who are in need.

What do you remember most about your service? From boot camp to my discharge, to be faithful to all my fellow Marines and remember that they all had my back! The most memorable thing is to go to war and survive to come home to my family.

What would you like readers to know about your military experience? Being in the Marine Corps was service with the best and the feeling of “Once a Marine, always a Marine.” Semper fi!

Is there anything else you want readers to know about you that we didn’t ask? I would wish that the younger generations would want to defend their country to ensure the freedoms that they are already enjoying. I would still fight for my country even at my age!

Hometown Heroes is a weekly feature profiling Clark and Champaign County veterans compiled with the assistance of local Vietnam veteran Randy Ark. To nominate a veteran, e-mail samantha.sommer@coxinc.com or randyark48@gmail.com or call 937-328-0363. Any veteran of any military branch, years of service and age is eligible to be profiled.