State Rep. Bronna Kahle of Adrian and Sen. Dale Zorn today welcomed Lenawee County resident Frank Dick to the Capitol, presenting him with a legislative tribute commemorating his service during World War II.
“Those who have served our great nation deserve our respect and recognition for their sacrifices,” Rep. Kahle said. “Frank’s incredible desire to serve is acknowledged through his time as a soldier in World War II and as he continued to give back to those around him after returning home. It was an honor to have the opportunity to recognize Frank at the Capitol and thank him for his service on behalf of the state of Michigan.”
At 18 years-old, Frank answered the call to serve upon graduating high school as member of Patton’s Third Army, 80th Division, 317th Infantry Regiment, Company I, famously known as the Blue Ridge Mountain Boys. Frank first arrived on the battlefront December 15, 1944 in the Ardennes region of Belgium as the German forces mounted their final major offensive on the Western Front.
Known as the Battle of the Bulge, the German offensive went on to last six brutal weeks and took place during frigid weather conditions, which made even surviving the cold difficult for soldiers. It was here where he became friends with Donald “Don” Guss, a fellow replacement soldier from Louisville, Kentucky.
Following the Battle of the Bulge, on February 19, 1945, Frank and Don found themselves caught using a foxhole for cover Frank sustained significant injuries from incoming mortar fire during the battle, which resulted in 100 percent disability. For his service and role in the battle, Frank was awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, the good conduct medal, and the combat infantry badge, among others.
Frank has gone on to lead a remarkable life, continuing to build upon his service and leadership as a civilian. After being honorably discharged, Frank and his wife Shirley lived throughout northern Ohio and southern Michigan as Frank took positions as superintendent of schools in Sylvania and Toledo, and eventually as president of Gleaner Life Insurance Society.
“Having the opportunity to honor these veterans here today is something I will never forget,” Sen. Zorn said. “They should be honored and celebrated, as they ensured through their leadership and sacrifice we remain the land of the free and home of the brave.”
State Rep. Bronna Kahle today presented Frank Dick (left) with a legislative tribute at the state Capitol. They were joined on the Senate floor by fellow WWII veteran Victor Cross of Genesee County (right) and Sen. Dale Zorn (center).
Full text of the legislative tribute below:
LET IT BE KNOWN, That it is a great pleasure to join with family, friends, and the whole community to honor Frank Dick for his unwavering courage, commitment, and dutiful service on behalf of our country. We thank Frank for his bravery and express our appreciation for his many contributions to the preservation of our cherished liberties.
Frank Dick answered the call to serve upon graduating from high school in 1944. At 18 years of age, he began basic training at Camp Blanding in Florida on D-Day, June 6, 1944. After rigorous preparation, Frank boarded a passenger ship on December 9th with thousands of soldiers to the heat of battle in Southampton, England. Two weeks later, Frank was designated as a replacement in Patton’s Third Army, 80th Division, 317th Infantry Regiment, Company I, famously known as the Blue Ridge Mountain Boys. His involvement in the division made him a participant in The Battle of the Bulge, the last major German offensive campaign on the Western Front.
It was then that Frank became friends with Donald Guss, another replacement from Louisville, Kentucky. On February 19, 1945, the pair found themselves caught in a foxhole. There was significant incoming mortar, and both Frank and Don were hit by shrapnel. Don’s injuries were superficial, and he was later sent back to the front lines. Frank’s injuries were more significant, and he suffered one hundred percent disability.
On February 6, 1946, Frank was honorably discharged at Newton Baker General Hospital in Martinsburg, West Virginia, as a Private First Class. He was awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, the good conduct medal, and the combat infantry badge, among others.
Frank has led a remarkable life and has continued to build upon his service and leadership as a civilian. Frank graduated with BA and master’s degrees from Bowling Green State University. He once was the youngest mayor in Ohio, while teaching school and coaching basketball. He was superintendent of schools in multiple school districts in Ohio, including the City of Toledo, with 63,000 students, where he served for 13 years. He successfully served as the leader of Gleaner Life Insurance and contributed immensely to the organization’s growth and stability.
He was married to his childhood sweetheart and the love of his life, Shirley Garns, for 63 years before her passing in 2010. They have one daughter, Reide, who lives in Bakersfield, CA.
IN SPECIAL TRIBUTE, Therefore, This document is signed and dedicated to honor Frank Dick for the courage and strength he has demonstrated in protecting the freedoms we hold so dear. May he know of our heartfelt admiration. We are forever grateful for his service.