Editor's note: This letter was originally published five years ago today.
My hero is my wife's brother, Jim Orr. Born and reared in Memphis, after high school he went to Oregon and worked in a CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) camp. He sent most of his pay home to help support his parents and five sisters.
In 1942, he enlisted in the Marines. He applied for flight school; after completing flight training he was commissioned a second lieutenant and trained to fly B-25 bombers and sent to the Pacific theater. He was wounded while engaged in a low-level bombing run at Tobruk.
He returned to Memphis and got a job as an office boy at a company that made cotton oil mill machinery. In time he became a salesman and his job took him places in the U.S. and the Middle East. He rose to be president of the Murray Co. He and another man bought the company and eventually sold it for a good profit.
Jim encouraged me to apply for Naval flight school, which I did. Jim had a great personality and was interested in others wherever he went. He was a role model for me as well as others. I was proud to have him as a brother-in-law.