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Jack Cowell, 95 year old Navy veteran, poses in front of the Wall of Veterans at the 2019 Ashland County Fair.

ASHLAND -- The Ashland County Fair is showing its gratitude for veterans with a brand new display featuring the portraits of service people who call Ashland County home.  

The Wall of Veterans includes a specific memorial for Ashland veterans lost in action.

On Monday, Veterans Day at the fair, 95-year-old U.S. Navy veteran Jack Cowell sat at a table eating beans. The former Seaman 1st Class was eager to share his story.

“I was a farm boy and went to high school out in Lucas, and my senior year I knew I was going to be drafted," Cowell said. "I was in it to fight for our country; that's what all of us do."

Cowell worked on the USS Damon Cummings, a destroyer escort - which was a speedy warship used in World War II that had enough reinforcement to ram submarines.

He recounted tales of island hopping, his ventures patrolling over the Mariana Trench, his experiences picking up troops from Iwo Jima, and swimming in the water underneath his vessel.  

"I prayed a lot," he said.

Cowell also shared an amusing story regarding him preparing a special surprise for everyone on board the Cummings.

“After we went to this one island, we returned to Australia to pick up some supplies,” said Cowell.   

Betwixt the supplies were some fresh potatoes. 

“I told the cooks, ‘I’ll peel the potatoes if you guys make the French fries,” he said.  “We made French fries that night for 200 and some guys.”  

After returning home, Cowell began a career at Mansfield Tire and Rubber. Cowell is currently a first responder for the fire department and enjoys visiting the YMCA to keep in shape.  

"I'm out there helping anyone I can," he said.

The 2019 Ashland County Fair continues throughout the week.

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