For the first time, WWII vet Russ Furnas decided to tell his story. At the age of 92, Russ stood before our Gainesville Chamber staff for 45 minutes to share his life story with most time allotted to his WWII experience. At times, it was clear that recounting stories of being injured, of nearly dying and suffering war fatigue were still tough to handle. He remembered specific details of what unfolded nearly 70 years ago. With great humility he walked through the experience from the day he heard of the bombing on Pearl Harbor, through moving from camp to camp in England and then through the actual battlefield. He ultimately was in Germany at the end of the war, came home and went back to work. No party, no parade, no celebration. Today, we ended his talk with a surprise celebratory cake and decorations. Maybe for him, he felt some respect and gratitude. But I know those of us in the room took away far more.
Our staff hung on to every word with amazement of the real, personable account of a world changing journey Russ was on. He filled the story with lessons in leadership and true honor. What a journey it must have been.
I’d rather share in person if you are interested in the story.