This Sunday, Veterans Day, Hillsdale College faculty, staff, and students will remember friends and family members who have served in the U.S. armed forces. Here is the story of one college employee and her father, Donald Mees.
Sorting through a pile of photographs and letters she’d gathered over the years, Jennifer Ellair, a Hillsdale College custodian who works in the sports complex, recently found some gems: Two letters and photographs of her father, Donald Mees, from his time serving in World War II.
Born on April 27, 1918, in Ohio, Mees would have turned 100 years old last spring. He passed away on his birthday in 1991.
Mees served in the U.S. infantry in Germany and France during the war, Ellair said. While in Europe, he befriended and stayed with a Dutch family in Holland, who sent letters to his former wife and to him afterward. These are the ones Ellair still has.
“We congratulate you upon the return home of Donald,” one of the letters reads, written from one of the Ronekers to Mees’ wife at the time. “He is a good man and I believe a good husband too. What a joy for him, when he shall again see his wife and son.”
A postscript added that the family was expecting its 13th child. Mees always loved children and was a good father, Ellair remembered.
“He always encouraged me, told me I could do anything I wanted to do. He always was very encouraging,” Ellair said.
“He was proud that he served and fought for our country, especially when there was so much at stake over there,” she said. “And he was glad to help the people.”