Eau Claire (WQOW)- His career in the Navy allowed him to travel the world, but Dick Mitchell came back home to Eau Claire to continue the work of helping others.
"I took the discharge and came home," recalled the veteran. "I stopped in Ohio, bought an Irish Setter puppy, and came home and went back to work at the post office."
But this serviceman could not step away from public service and opportunity came knocking when his son wanted to become a Cub Scout. "At that time the leader of the local pack was required to be a woman, and my wife worked afternoons so she could not be the den leader, so I became the Den Mother," remembered Dick with a chuckle.
That began his volunteer venture with the Boy Scouts and the list of organizations he's gotten involved in grows from there. Dick is a member of the American Legion, The 40 and 8, he is a Freemason, volunteers at the Humane Association, the Paul Bunyan camp, the Beacon House and somehow finds time to travel to Tomah to visit veterans at the V.A. Hospital.
A veteran himself he's worked to honor other veterans by organizing and participating in a local Veterans Day ceremony for more than 20 years now. Today, it's held at Longfellow Elementary. When asked Dick also provides honor detail at veteran funerals, meaning he helps to organize things like a 21 gun salute, the playing of taps and makes sure a flag is presented to the veteran's family.
"He doesn't do it for recognition," said Greg O'Reilly, a friend who nominated Dick for the award, "He just does it because he believes it's part of his responsibility."
Congratulations Dick! If you know a volunteer who deserves to be recognized with the Jefferson Award click here to nominate them.