MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa -- Veterans Day is a time to honor all of those who served, and the Marshalltown community wanted to honor one of their own in particular.
Ninety-four-year-old Harold Cline is a World War II Navy Veteran loved by many in the Marshalltown community.
“I enlisted in 1943 and got out in 1946. I started out as just a plain boot and a seaman and I finally got to my jumpers over there: Aviation Ordnance Second Class, which is about the same as a staff sergeant,” Cline said.
Cline said he traveled the world while serving in the military and was honored to fight for our freedom.
“It’s my country. You can be patriotic or whatever you want to call it, but I love my country. I love my flag,” Cline said.
Eventually, he returned to Marshalltown where he settled down with the love of his life, Ardell, and became a part of this small town community.
David Shearer, a long-time friend of the Cline family, said Cline is a special man.
“He really means a lot. Not only did he work in the chicken hatchery, his family had a western wears store. He did leatherwork. He made holsters and things like that for the police department at the time. He was also a photographer for crime scenes and stuff. Everybody knows Harold. It’s just the way it is,” Shearer said.
For 50 years, Cline ran his own photography studio, Cline Photo, up until the day an EF3 tornado came barreling down the road in 2018.
“I came out here, parked my car out in the alley, came in here and it was like the express train came by. That’s what it sounded like,” Cline said.
He watched the tornado tear apart the neighborhood he built a wonderful life. It damaged his home and his studio.
“I just watched it. Across the street there's a house and it picked the roof up off that house and took it away. The antenna up here bounced across the street,” Cline said.
Now, a little more than a year later, both have been repaired and restored.
“Harold’s a fighter. I mean, he is more willing to help others and do things for others than to worry about himself at times, and that’s special. You don’t see that today as much,” Shearer said.