Eric L. Shelly
My early years were spent in the little farming town of Casey, Illinois. There it wasn’t unusual to see a grade-school-aged boy walking out of town with a bamboo fishing pole and a can of earthworms. In his other hand, he carried his 22-caliber rifle. No one thought anything of it; we were free to be children back then. We had also been taught that we were young “men” and that we were responsible for our actions, even at that young age.
At the beginning of the fifth grade we moved to Phoenix, Arizona. My companions were my horse and my dog. For me, I couldn’t imagine a better childhood. My father provided the foundation to help me develop into becoming a man.
I worked in the sport of Thoroughbred horse racing for almost thirty years, both before and after Vietnam. After Vietnam, the horses and my dogs were my only friends. They were always there for me. They accepted me.
The greatest honor, as I grew into adulthood, was serving my country. And more precisely serving with the Fourth Infantry Division in Vietnam. I will be forever grateful to be an American.
My wife Eva and I reside in Deer Park, Washington.