A Good Man contributed by Richard Shipman
All of us have those wonderful people in our lives who quietly go about their daily activities without complaint. They don't stir up the wind or people's lives with grandiose actions. And at the same time, many of them have a great impact on us. Thankfully, I know one of those people. He is a son of
I first met Fred Wood in 1967 when my brother married the eldest daughter of Fred and Mary Wood. It has been fascinating and rewarding to get to know Fred, his immediate family and extended family. The first thing I learned about Fred was his kindness and love of family. Almost immediately I was included in all family activities: the birthdays, anniversaries, and trips back to the family cabin near Williams Fork Reservoir. I was about the same age as his oldest sons and I suppose it was just easy for him to look at me as one of his boys. I was always extended a warm and sincere invitation to come to the annual summer and winter mountain events. We all had great fun, all fifteen to thirty of us. These events frequently pulled in the families of Fred's older brothers who worked the family ranches in the Williams Fork area.
Loyalty and dependability are important to Fred. At the end of this year he will complete his 60th year working for the same employer. That is quite an accomplishment these days. He is always there training the new people and sharing his knowledge and work ethic. It says a lot about one's character to stick with something for that many years. Probably the most important accomplishments are the 59 years he has been married to his lovely wife, Mary, and raising their 10 children.
Fred works for a moving company. This job requires a great deal of physical strength, much of which he gained working on the family ranch near Parshall, where he was born. I've witnessed his ability to do hard work when we cut trees for firewood, added to the cabin, or dug out the basement. Fred was born in 1924, the youngest of 13 children. Growing up in the 30's gave him a good understanding of the value of hard work and the determination to find a job to support a family.
Like most of the people of his generation, the love of family and country put him on a path to service in World War II. It's only been in the last few years that I have learned about Fred's service and how much our country asked of those young people. Fred and his peers have shared some stories and now national authors have recognized the "greatest generation." You see, most of these people are modest and humble folks who were just asked to do a job and they went out and did it with no expectation of special recognition. Fred was a crewmember on a B-24 Liberator bomber flying out of
I recently had the opportunity to fly in a renovated Liberator and I am amazed at what little the pilots had for protection. And that they were asked to do so much with so little.
Another thing that you learn from these people is humility. The world that they saved us from was so brutal that they have kept it all to themselves for more than forty years. Now as time draws to a close on their times, the remaining crewmembers relish their annual get-togethers. They are always invited to share the cabin.
For most of Fred's adult years he worked in
You can see where I am going. Here is a man who lived and worked through the country's most trying and challenging times. I can see his strength of character, dependability and devotion to family and friends. Make no mistake; he did not make this journey alone. Mary has been a partner from the first. They have shared the triumphs and tragedies together. And they continue to lead their family.
It has been an honor for me to be part of this remarkable family lead by an unassuming, gentle man. I feel privileged to know this good man and to have him as a friend.