Hometown Hero provides place to call home

FARMER CITY -- You know the old saying, what you put into the world, you get back. For one veteran, good comes back again and again, all because he created a place many call home. WCIA-3's Amanda Porterfield introduces us to a Hometown Hero.

Donald Judd has lived in this community for decades. He lives up the road, but VFW Post 6190 is his home.

"I love it. I'd be lost if I couldn't be around here, around the guys."

Guys whose pictures are on the walls of this building. Judd remodeled it himself to make it a place where veterans can turn for help.

"I helped start it. I was a charger member. I was commander the first three years. I grew up to love the organization. I made so many friends in it, and since my wife is gone, she passed away 14 years ago, most of the members here became my family."

Family he started more than 40-years ago after serving three years at the end of the Korean War.

"Well, there was a war going on, and I thought it was my duty, you know when your country is in trouble, you're supposed to help."

He got these medals for helping stop Russia from starting World War 3, as Europe was rebuilding from World War II, and brought that helpful attitude back home.

"We go to the Danville VA. A lot donate money over there. We help local people who have problems. Right now, there's a lot of unemployment. You know, every so often, some guy comes up and says, 'you remember when I was in trouble and I needed this or I needed that, and you guys helped me out?' That's..., you can't ask for any better pay than that."

When Judd's wife died, he didn't have to ask. The community just helped him.

"You know you feel like you're lost. There were people coming out of the woodwork. People I hadn't seen for years, calling me, sending me cards, coming to see me. It's wonderful and you've got to remember that and do the same thing for other people when they need help."

Over the years, organizations around town have given Judd many awards. Last month, one came as a surprise. He got it from the Veterans of Foreign Wars, only the second person in the state.

"I was pretty taken off my feet when I got it."

But, if you ever get to meet this guy, his answer to how he feels about all the recognition won't surprise you. He says he's just happy it makes Post 6190 look good. He hopes other veterans walk in footsteps.

"When you see a fellow veteran, there is just a brotherhood there that there's a feeling that you know each other. You know what you've done. You know where you've been. Even though you don't know the man's name, when you find out he's a veteran, there's a tie there. There always will be."

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