It's amazing what a computer and a little bit of luck can do for a person.
For one Gilman man, it reunited him and all of his brothers again.
It was 1955 when Harley Everts enlisted in the United States Army, packed his bags and left for boot camp in Fort Riley, Kansas. It was at Fort Riley where Harley met a lot of his Army 'buddies' and then a few months later the men were stationed together in Germany until they were discharged in January of 1958. For most, they lost touch and went back to their normal lives, but Christmas Eve 2001, things changed.
T-R PHOTO BY LUKE STALZER
13 Army veterans from around the United States who all met at Fort Riley, Kansas in 1955 recently reconnected through the internet. Here they sit and talk at the Gilman residence of Harley Everts Saturday evening about Army memories.
"We were getting ready to go to church and I was in the shower," Harley said. "My wife was talking on the phone and I wasn't sure what it was all about."
Harley's wife, Janice Everts, remembers when the couple got their computer in 2001, Harley had just one request.
"He said that he remembered a friend from the Army that lived in Delta, Colorado and he would like to find him," Janice said. "Our son Mike got on the computer and we tried to find this man named Kenny. The first one we found with the same name in that area, we called and it was Christmas Eve."
Janice said that at first she was talking to his wife and she didn't know if he was in the army or not, so when Janice got on the phone with Kenny, he said, "Oh my. Are you Janice?"
"The next thing we knew, Kenny was on his way from Colorado to Iowa that next August," Harley said.
Once the Everts got in contact with Kenny, he then contacted another Army buddy named Joe in Milwaukee and it spiraled down from there.
"I said I wanted to meet up with these guys before I died," Harley said. "I believe that we wouldn't be where we are now without the help of that computer."
The group has now grown to 13 and they have been meeting up for the past six years and Harley said he hopes they can keep doing this for a long time to come.
"We're going to try to carry on the tradition," Harley said. "We try to make it to a different state each year."
The group of veterans arrived in Iowa on Wednesday and made stops at the Amana Colonies and Meskwaki Casino and ended their week together with a barn dance and Harley's son, Mike, parachuted in holding the American flag.
Contact Luke Stalzer at 641-753-6611 or firstname.lastname@example.org