By Lasca Randels
WARSAW — Raymond Bledsoe of Claypool was honored at the Kosciusko County Commissioner’s Feb. 19 meeting as Veteran of the Month.
He was born Nov. 21, 1946, in Burlington, Wash., to Marvin and Evelyn Bledsoe.
His father was in the Coast Guard so they moved around often. Bledsoe attended kindergarten in Staten Island, N.Y., grades 1-7 in Port Angeles, Wash., grades 8-9 in Wessington Springs, S.D., and grades 10-12 in Warsaw.
After graduating high school, Bledsoe joined the U.S. Marine Corps.
His basic training took place in San Diego, Calif. Following this, he attended infantry training and truck driving school at Camp Pendleton.
Bledsoe was sent to Vietnam in April 1968 and stationed at a base just north of Da Nang. He drove trucks, transporting supplies and manpower.
Bledsoe received numerous awards during his time in the military.
After completing his enlistment, Bledsoe was honorably discharged in May 1969 after three years of service. He returned to Warsaw and took a job with R.R. Donnelley & Sons where he worked for 43 years, until his retirement.
He married Joyce Folk on July 28, 1973. The couple was blessed with two children, Jason and Lydia.
Jason is married to Kim and resides in Warsaw. Lydia is married to Matt Campbell and also lives in Warsaw. Bledsoe has four grandchildren: Kerstin Bledsoe, Hallie Bledsoe, Gunnar Campbell and Hadley Campbell.
Joyce passed away in August 2020.
In November 2020, Bledsoe was presented with the “Order of Kosciuszko” award at the annual Veterans Day ceremony held at Center Lake Pavilion. The award is given for exceptional service to God, country and others.
Lydia Campbell said her father is not one to seek out recognition “even if it is well deserved.”
“In addition to his time served in the military, he has quietly and humbly served various veteran organizations in our community,” Campbell said. “His dedicated service has modeled generosity, humility and diligence for everyone he has influenced, especially our family. My father shows up and supports those he loves.”
Bledsoe is a lifetime member of the VFW Post 1126 in Warsaw, past post commander of the American Legion Post 49 in Warsaw, a member of HOG (Harley Owners Group), a longtime member of ABATE of Indiana Region 1 and a member of the Honor Guard, which provides military honors for his fellow veterans who have passed away.
He enjoys riding his Harley and attending his grandchildren’s basketball games, dance recitals and science shows.