Letters From Leton: My Dad Was A Corporal (Once)

My father was a Military Policeman who served in the 1st Army and later transferred to the 3rd Army during occupation of Germany.

During his service he was decorated and acknowledged for his service – which led to him being promoted to Corporal – well, at least for a while.

As my mother shares the story, as relayed to her by my Dad, in occupied Germany the old and children alike would gather around the mess (cafeteria) tents and wait and beg for leftovers and table scraps. 

Once, my father witnessed a soldier take his semi-full tray over to where young children waited, turn his tray over and dump the food on the ground. My father in turn made the solider aware of his disapproval of this action with a punch to the face, resulting in my father’s return to his status as a private in the U.S. Army.

I was reminded of that story recently as I began to serve on the Virginia Bankers Association’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force led by our Chairman, John Asbury of Atlantic Union.

My father shared that he held nothing against the old and very young of Germany due to Hitler’s (and other’s) actions. A starving person was simply a starving person who needed help (and we best not put anything on our plate we did not intend to eat).

During his life he carried this respect for person to his life’s end.

Now my father was not a saint as he was an individual of his time, but he saw a person’s character first before anything else.

The efforts of VBA and others are to simply remind us that we need to be aware of our thoughts, actions, and approach to others and that we really are in this life together.

Regardless of the color of one’s skin, one’s religious or other personal choices, or where one lives (I shared with the task force the negative stereotypes of Appalachians in the media) we are better when we give and care for one another.

So excuse me for a while, I’ve got to go and practice my right hook.

Stay safe.

– Leton

“Letters From Leton” is a blog series comprised of the weekly updates that Leton Harding – President, Chairman, and CEO of Powell Valley National Bank, shares with the Bank’s team members. These newsletters are full of uplifting anecdotes and intriguing insights that are applicable beyond the Bank, so we want to share them with you.