One local World War II veteran can rest a bit easier at night thanks to a new bed provided by the Hotchkiss Elks and the Colorado Association of Elks.
Chery Gordon, exalted ruler of Hotchkiss Elks Lodge 1807, and husband Willie Gordon, a state Elks trustee, presented the bed to Pat Childress last Saturday at his Heaven’s View apartment in Delta.
The 89-year-old U.S Marine veteran from Crawford said he graduated from the school of “pots and pans” in North Carolina before spending the next two and a half years at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training camp in Bridgeport, California.
Childress used one particular skill he learned while ranching in the North Fork Valley at the base. His main duty was preparing troops for cold weather combat, but things changed after he learned about a new opportunity.
From his recliner, Childress recalled the conversation he had with the base sergeant when asked if he could shoe a horse.
“Sergeant, I’ll tell you this. I can put a shoe on a horse and if you’re lucky, you can tell which way he’s a goin’,” Childress chuckled.
Following his stint with the Marines, Childress returned to the area where he worked in the coal mines, custom haying and ranching. He also owned a small cafe in Hotchkiss.
Childress, one of the oldest card-carrying members of the Hotchkiss Elks, said he moved into Heaven’s View in 2012. Lately he’s been sleeping in his living room recliner chair to help relieve pain in his right leg.
When asked how he liked the new bed, the wiry veteran quipped, “Well, I don’t know yet, I ain’t tried it. After a night or two I may tell em’ to come get it. That old bed was a good one but it just wore out. I’ve been sleeping in this here (recliner) for dang near a month.”
Willie Gordon said the new electric mobility bed, discounted by America’s Mattress, will make it easier for Childress to get in and out of bed and hopefully provide a good night’s sleep for the veteran.