Charles Skinner

Photo courtesy of Sue Asselin

Charles Skinner, 89, wraps up in a red, white and blue afghan presented to him at his home in Douglas by the Casper Hospice Program, which also gave him the flag, certificate, Challenge Coin and the pillow made from a retired flag.

Charles Skinner was maybe 18 or maybe 19 when he entered the Army in 1951. At 89 and in fragile health with Parkinson’s, his memory isn’t what it used to be . . . he has good days and bad days.

Last Thursday was a good day.

It turned out to be a very good day.

Not only was Charles having a good mental day, he was about to get the surprise of his year. Larry Kloster with Casper Hospice Program showed up at his house to honor him his service in the Korean War.

Kloster was able to speak with Charles about his time in the service, then presented him with a pillow that was made from a retired flag that flew above Perkins in Casper. Charles also received a Challenge Coin from the United States and U.S. Sen. John Barraso, R-Wy, a star off a retired flag, a red-white-and-blue afghan, a “We Honor Vets” pin, a small flag and a framed “We Appreciate Our Veterans” certificate.

“He was pretty proud to be honored by Larry,” Charles’ daughter, Sue Asselin, said in an email. “That’s when he got his old uniform jacket out and tried it on so Larry could see him in it. He had no idea how special that little ceremony was going to be. I had no idea, either.”

Asselin said the impromptu event turned into a ceremony of sorts that Charles truly appreciated.

“Larry asked my dad to stand and my mom (Shirley), my husband (Rex), Larry and I saluted him. He saluted back, and he was very happy to think that anyone would recognize him for his service that many years ago,” she said.

“I know he said going into the service was something he never thought about as anything special,” Asselin said. “It’s just what you did. He has so many stories, about how cold it was over there and how they kept warm. Wish I could remember what he said on . . . what they had to do with their boots to keep from freezing. And he still doesn’t think it was anything special.

“He always wears his hat that says Korean war veteran and has many people thank him for his service. As soon as Larry left, he went and got his hat and put the pin he received on it immediately.”

He also found his old Army jacket and put it on. It still fit, though Asselin said that is because he’s lost some weight.

“Luckily this was a good day for him so he could acknowledge and appreciate all the time that was put into this ceremony.”

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