CUBA CITY— A World War II veteran wouldn’t change anything about his service to the United States.
Lou Banfield, a lifelong Cuba City resident, volunteered for the U.S. Navy in 1943, when he was 17. He dropped out of school the fall of his junior year to avoid being drafted to the Army. He was stationed on a landing ship tank (LST) and earned the training that eventually helped him establish a 40-year career as an electrician at John Deere Dubuque Works.
Volunteering meant he didn’t earn his diploma. After the war he returned to school for his degree, which is where he met his wife, Grace Duncan.
“I learned my trade and got my bride,” Banfield said. “It was quite the accomplishment. I’m happy with how things turned out.”
They had seven children and he became highly involved in the Cuba City community. He served six years on the Cuba City Fire Department and four years on the Cuba City School Board. He was also a part of the V.F.W.’s bowling team.
“I think about my time in war getting out of high school,” Banfield said. “I was a changed person when I got out.”
In May of 1945, Banfield was honorably discharged from the Navy and joined the Cuba City American Legion. He also joined 42 others to sign the charter for the Cuba City V.F.W. on Oct. 6, 1946. Cuba City celebrated the 70th anniversary at an event in mid-September.
“I’m the last living person on the original charter,” Banfield said. “I’ve been with the V.F.W. for 70 years and I’m still here today.”
Banfield goes to Nick’s Café almost every morning to socialize and catch up with friends. He said he sees Cuba City doing well.
“I see good times,” Banfield said. “I’m happy with the Cuba City government. We are just living the good life. I think it is good here. I wish the United States looked as healthy as Cuba City.”
Banfield said people used to be more patriotic and he hopes to see that return.
“Louie is always there to help anyone who needs him. He has spent a great deal of his life serving his family, his country, St Rose Parish, City of Cuba City, and anyone needing a helping hand,” said Mayor Tom Gile.
“We are very lucky to have Louie be a member of our community. He deserves the title “Cuban of the Month” for all the times he has given to our country, our city, and most of all to his family”.
Editor's Note: This column will be a special addition to the Tri-County Press on a monthly basis. Look for each installment near the end of the month. All volunteers are recomended for the article by Mayor Tom Gile. If you have ideas for future volunteers in the community to be recognized, contact Gile at 608-744-3203.