WRIGHTSTOWN, Wis. (WFRV) – Steve Day grew up a New Yorker, on a small farm.
His father was a WWII vet, who served as a medical administrator for the VA. It was Day’s father, along with his brother Michael, who drove him to enlist in the Coast Guard in 1967.
“I was there when [Michael] raised his right hand and I told my Dad, I said, ‘I’m doing that next year,’” Day recalled. “[My father] said, ‘You do your job every day. It’s either humanitarian or it’s life-saving, or you’re defending our country.’ So, it’s a great service, it’s a small service and that’s what we chose.”
Afloat and ashore, Day served as a Damage Controlman off the coast of California, a job he says didn’t really have a definition.
“Damage Control Man is a firefighter, a plumber, a carpenter, kind of a jack of all trades, I loved the job,” said Day.
In 1971, Day finished up his active duty and in 1973 became a member of the Coast Guard Reserve, spending time in Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota.
“I thought I was all done but my father told all of us that we should stay in the reserves, meaning I have two other brothers that served in the Coast Guard, and our total amount of service in the Coast Guard is 110 years,” said Day.
Day retired as a 2 Star Rear Admiral in 2014 after 46 years of service, but he keeps a wall of photos and memorabilia; Reminders of where he came from.
“Never forget the people that held the ladder as you climbed the ladder of success.’ And I think that’s a great quote,” Day said. “You just remember those folks and you tell folks, ‘Don’t forget those folks that helped you,’ and now you turn around and help them,” he said.
Day does just that, through the veteran’s groups he’s involved with today like Veteran’s Village in Appleton.
“We have so much to be thankful for, living in this great country and whatever I can do to support those great people that are taking care of us, be it military, first responders, whatever, I’m glad to do it,” said Day.
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