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Hometown Hero - John Gaspard

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 7:50 AM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - John Gaspard was in the Merchant Marines in the final months of World War II. After a separate stint in the Navy, a few years later, he found himself in the Army in another war, this time in Korea. Gaspard’s Signal Corps served mainly above the 38th parallel and was located just behind the front lines.

“Well, we went to see Bob Hope. He came over. We took a truck load of us. In fact, I got to sit about 20 to 30 feet from the stage. I don’t know how I got in there, but I got pretty close to him.”

That Christmas Gaspard remembers driving to deliver toys to a Korean orphanage.

“For Christmas Day, our division had gotten presents for an orphanage in Seoul. I went to Seoul that day. On the way back, it started snowing. I got my snow for Christmas!”

Gaspard later became a volunteer with the Literacy Council of Southwest Louisiana. He fondly remembers helping one man learn how to read.

“It took 7 years to get him through. When he finished, he got his GED. The day he got his GED, he got hired by the Union Pacific Railroad as a conductor.”

He retired from the Port of Lake Charles after almost 28 years of service. At 94 years of age, John Gaspard doesn’t look to be slowing anytime soon.

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