Al Stuckey: Lifetime Member of American Legion

BY BRANDY TEMPLETON

Employees of Kingston Residence of Hickory describe him as a “character.”
Some even laughed and said he has to “beat off all the girls.” One thing is for sure, Al Stuckey, at 101, is a known and wanted member of the community he calls home.
The centenarian is alert, oriented, and sharp as a tack. He attributes his life to clean living, staying positive, treating others with kindness, and having friends.
The military, he said, has also been a contributing factor. Since serving in World War II, Stuckey has made many connections, and connections have led to lasting friendships.
“I know one thing that's helped me here, good friends,” Stuckey said.
On Wednesday night, four of those friends came out to celebrate another milestone in his life.
Al Stuckey, long-standing member of American Legion Post 48 in Hickory, was awarded a certificate of appreciation and a lifetime membership to The American Legion.
Stuckey smiled as he read his lifetime membership card. He said his daughter, Stephanie, was in charge of paying his dues, but he was in charge of reminding her.
“Now I won't have to worry about Stephanie fussing at me,” Stuckey joked.
It is important for him to stay connected to the military, because it has been a part of his life since he was a young boy.
Stuckey said he remembers his first encounter with the military. He was only six and playing in his country grammar school's play yard. He said the boys would run back and forth imitating the Army trucks as they passed by.
“It was something new for us,” Stuckey said.
He said he remembers the day his uncle came back from serving in World War I.
“I can still see it. There were all these big engines and G.I.'s looking out, waving, yelling, and so forth,” Stuckey said. “It scared me to death. I ran and jumped in my daddy's arms.”
Thinking about his years spent in the military, Stuckey smiles. He said that he was fortunate “coming out of two wars and still being able to walk.”
He truly enjoyed the camaraderie--
“The only thing I hope I did was treat everybody fairly that I had under me,” he said. “I don't know if it made me live longer, but I know it made me happier.”
Stuckey retired from the Army while stationed in New Orleans. They had placed him as second in command in ROTC.
“It was a good assignment for the army,” he said. “I could have stayed a little while longer, but I had two small children at home, and I knew Vietnam was coming. After two wars, I was fortunate. It was time to call it retirement.”
He started teaching at Hickory High School in 1962. Taught swimming and ICT (industrial corporate training) for 22 years.
“I enjoyed the work at Hickory High School,” Stuckey said. “I always found a way to join up with somebody.”
Stuckey still “joins up” and stays connected to his alma matter, Clemson, along with military vets. He joked about the last Clemson game he watched.
“I hope nobody heard me scream from next door,” he laughed.
As fpr the future of the military, he wants the Army to train American soldiers well against the enemies. He had good thoughts for young soldiers.
“I simply admire them and they go and there's no country like this and that young people getting out of service need all the help they can get,” Stuckey said.
I wish for the youngsters coming up a good, well-prepared Army.”

Commander Hunsucker and past commander, Bill Richard smiled and listened intently to Stuckey's advice. They asked questions about who Stuckey is as a man.
Catherine Corpering, friend, laughed as she described Stuckey.
“He's the biggest partier,” she said.
“He has got the best disposition, he's so happy,” Corpering said. “He's nice to everybody and loved by everybody. Every time you come to visit, you leave happier than you came.”
Stuckey said that he tried to be positive instead of negative whenever he could.
There was one more award given quietly to Stuckey. Tom Hunsucker, legion commander, placed his “Chief's” coin (a high reward) in Stuckey's hand. It was a very significant award that Hunsucker received after being ranked Master Sergeant.
“It's an honor to be here,” he said. “There aren't many of them left.”
“I've got a lot of respect for that generation,” he said while tearing up. “I can't imagine where they've gone and the stories they have to tell.”
Richard mentioned that Tom Brokaw said that World War II veterans were the “greatest generation” that ever lived. Stuckey, holding his awards, can proudly say he was a full-fledged member of that generation.

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