Monday, June 15, 2015

Mr. Mervin Cohey

Mr. Cohey shared his pictures, including one of him in uniform.
Not all soldiers in World War II saw direct combat, others were sent overseas to monitor borders, and follow the relief aid by the end of the war. Mervin Cohey, a Chestertonian farmer, grew up on the Chester River, and volunteered for service with four of his buddies. They decided to skip school that day and hitchhike down to Baltimore. The four boys went through basic training, where they peeled many potatoes, and were sent to different forts to resume training after Christmas.

Mr. Cohey went overseas, not to combat enemy troops, but to protect the borders as well as two of Hitler’s headquarters from enemy snipers. However, for Mr. Cohey, the worst part of the war, were the starving children that he and others in his platoon interacted with on a daily basis. More often than not, Mr. Cohey would either share or give his K-Rations to the children of Berlin. In two touching stories, Mr. Cohey befriends some of the people of the town and surround areas. One farming family invited Mr. Cohey to their home above the cowshed, and had a lovely dinner even with little means. This dinner for Mr. Cohey was very risky and actually not allowed to happen in the first place. But that didn’t stop this family from caring about Mr. Cohey as one of their own. Another story involved the family that washed Mr. Cohey’s clothes while he was in stationed in the city.

Joe & Mr. Cohey
Their young daughter asked Mr. Cohey over for dinner in the bad part of town for an American soldier. So Mr. Cohey said no, but a few weeks later the young girl said that her father would pick him up and keep him safe so that he could come to dinner. Mr. Cohey thought about it and agreed, and the father came to pick him up and they went to the train station together, and when it came time to get off the train, the father told Mr. Cohey that he was going to get off first, and Cohey would follow and hold his hand as they walked the 4 blocks from the station to the family’s home. They were followed, but Mr. Cohey never let go of that man’s hand. They enjoyed a lovely dinner, and repeated the process on the way back. It goes to show that you are really never too old to hold someone’s hand to keep you safe.

-Sarah Graff (duo interview with Joseph Swit)

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