Faribault native Joe Skodje celebrated an incredible milestone. On March 30th, he is celebrated his 100th birthday! 2LT Joseph Skodje served as an Army Air Corps pilot in World War II.
“It was a beautiful day on the prairie near Fort Ransom, North Dakota. I was visiting the farm homes of my stepmother’s brother and sister. Arriving home at 808 7th Street North, Fargo, I found a telegram waiting for me: “Report to the OQMC in Washington, D.C. without delay!” (Office of the Quartermaster General). So ended my day – Sunday, December 7 in 1941! PEARL HARBOR!!”
These are a few sentences of Joseph Skodje’s Memoirs of World War II. From Washington D.C., he traveled to Minneapolis and applied for and was accepted into the Army Air Corps. He went on to become a pilot and spent time training in San Antonio, TX, Stamford, TX, Garden City, KS, Ellington Field in Houston, TX, Bergstrom Field, Austin, TX, Grenada, MS, Alliance, NE, and Fort Wayne, IN. In England, he was assigned to the 442 Troop Carrier Squadron and flew in the Invasion of Holland.
After the war, Joe went on to earn a degree in Engineering from the University of North Dakota. He and his wife, Helen, lived in Minneapolis before relocating to Clearwater, FL with their growing family which included 3 children. Joe worked for Honeywell as an industrial and safety engineer.
In 100 years, he has had time to have a lot of interests. He, along with Helen, were involved with many organizations which involved their kids. They also traveled extensively in both the United States and other worldwide destinations.
In the fall of 2018, Joe left Florida and relocated to Faribault, MN to be near his son. He often jokes that people do not typically move from Florida north during retirement!
Today, Joe is still active in working with photographs, zoom meetings, current events discussions, email and talking with friends and family by phone. He also grows flowers on his windowsill. With the cooped-up life of Covid, he has even given in and been known to enjoy a game of Bingo – just to be around people!Thank you for your service Joe, and we wish you a happy 100th birthday!
By David J. Weeres
Legion Post 323
Honoring Their Sacrifice, Educating Their Legacy may best describe the military foundation Folds of Honor.
Founded in 2007 by Lt Col Dan Rooney, an F-16 fighter pilot, Folds of Honor provides academic scholarships to the spouses and dependents of fallen or disabled service members. Many times, the families of our fellow veterans are forgotten or are left with limited resources when a soldier has fallen or is wounded in the line of service. Since its inception, Folds of Honor has provided over 29,000 scholarships totaling over $145 million. Among the students served, 41 percent are minorities.
Last year, Folds of Honor Minnesota funded 93 applicants and raised over $800,000 towards educational scholarships to those that deserve and need our help. The scholarships support private education tuition and tutoring for children in grades K-12, as well as higher education tuition assistance.
The scholarships are valued at up to $5000 per scholarship, and are awarded annually as long as the qualified applicant reapplies.
I have recently become involved with this nonprofit as a volunteer because I believe in its mission. To help a fellow veteran’s family in a time of real need is what we do as soldiers. We all remember the comradery and teamwork of a close-knit military unit; the close bonds that form is beyond compare. Folds of Honor is there to help the veteran’s families, and honor them, when they need a little extra help.
Education is one of the greatest gifts Folds of Honor believes it can give. Folds of Honor is proud to have $.90c of every dollar raised go directly towards their scholarship awards, an amazingly high percentage in the nonprofit world. They are rated 4 out of 4 stars by Charity Navigator and have a Platinum seal of transparency from GuideStar, both the highest marks a nonprofit can receive. This is the real deal!
Educational support, but also honoring those who served, is what Folds of Honor offers;
Let’s help provide more scholarships.
The Folds of Honor scholarship application window closes on March 31st, 2021. For more information and an application visit: minnesota.foldsofhonor.org