Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
MT. PLEASANT — Friday night, those in attendance at the Burlington Bees baseball game had the honor of watching 96-year-old, World-War II veteran Vern Dorothy throw out the first pitch.
The team and the crowd showed their appreciation and respect for Dorothy’s service.
As Dorothy took the field with Bees intern Mackenzy Vancil, the crowd clapped enthusiastically.
Vern Dorothy’s son R.V. Dorothy drove 10 hours from Yuma, Colorado to see his father in action.
“There’s no way I can miss that,” R.V. told his mother Carolyn Dorothy.
“I’m just proud of him not only for his service, but He’s one of the finest men I’ve ever known,” R.V. said.
R.V. said the experience was once in a lifetime.
“When I turned around and the team lined up to shake his hand,” R.V. said and paused. “That was pretty emotional. I almost lost it.”
R.V. told his sister Joy Messer to turn around to see the young baseball players, hats removed, honoring their father.
“To hear the crowd!” Joy said. “It was so emotional to have him respected that much. I was just elated.”
R.V. and Joy ooze pride for their father Vern Dorothy.
“I was the only daughter,” Joy said. “He could do nothing wrong in my eyes.”
She attributes her work ethic to her father who taught her to work hard for anything she wanted.
“I’m 69 years old and I still go out and pull weeds,” she said.
“I feel very blessed,” Joy said. “His faith is so great and he practices it. He is a very genuine and honest man. When it is time for him to go, I’m sure he’ll be ready. He’s a pretty special man.”
R.V. describes his veteran father as peaceful and calm.
“I’m grateful I had the father I had,” he said.
According to R.V., his father is a huge St. Louis Cardinals fan, and he knows to check the baseball schedule before he calls.
“I just love him to death,” R.V. said.
Vern Dorothy served for two years in the U.S. Navy, 43 years as a foreman at Dexter in Fairfield, and has resided in his current home in Mt. Pleasant since 1988 with his wife of 73 years.
When asked how to keep a marriage for so long and how make it to and live large at age 96, Vern attributes everything to his Heavenly Father.
“We trusted Christ as our savior a long time ago,” he said. “Our time is in His Hands.”
Vern has found his service honored in many ways throughout his life.
A fond memory for Vern is the opportunity he was given to participate in the 2010 Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., but throwing out the first pitch at the ballgame is nearly as special to him.
“My boy and I would play out in the yard and throw the ball around every night,” he said.
Turns out, he’s still got it, even at 96.