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Gibson special guest at Salvation Army veterans’ event

| November 9, 2018

Irwin Gibson shared a special moment with his wife Josephine during a presentation at the Salvation Army Military Appreciation Day held on Nov. 8. Josie Sellers | Beacon

COSHOCTON – Irwin “Gibby” Gibson doesn’t just carry battle scares with him. He still has bullets in him that tore through his body during World War II.

“If I pick up my left hand you can see the bullet sticking out and that’s just from one hit,” he said. “I also took machine gun fire in my leg. Five bullets went in one leg.”

Gibson was in Italy with the U.S. Army when he got shot.

“We came out in the open and a machine gun just opened up on us,” he said. “A lieutenant got me by my shirt collar and rolled me into a ditch where I laid.”

A German soldier came upon Gibson and could have very easily taken his life, but didn’t.

“He told me to stay and that my comrades would come,” Gibson said.

The German soldier was right. The Americans got to Gibson. He recovered from his injuries and spent another year overseas.

This is just one of several stories that Gibson shared during the Coshocton Salvation Army Military Appreciation Day on Nov. 8. Veterans were treated to breakfast, lunch and military displays that were set up in the Salvation Army’s gym.

“At 10 till 9 this morning we had them outside standing in line and we’ve had a steady stream since then,” said Tom Dile, who organized the event. “I’m overwhelmed by the people we’ve had coming in. Thank you very much.”

Majority of the items on display were from his collection. Dile, who attends The Salvation Army, served in the U.S. Army and is a veteran of Desert Storm.

“I’m military through and through,” he said. “I retired from active duty in 1994, but since then I’ve served on the honor guard and color guard. I want to do anything I can for veterans.”

Gibson, who is 93-years-old, is the last World War II veteran on the county’s honor guard. He couldn’t remember the exact number, but believes he’s served at more than 600 veterans’ funerals.

“We just had our (honor guard) dinner at Matt Miller’s funeral home and I made sure I thanked him,” Gibson said. “I’m getting to where I can’t move very well anymore and do funerals.”

Before wrapping up his presentation, Gibson shared a little bit about his return home from the war.

“Me and another guy were going to catch a train to Ohio and we decided while we waited to get a good cooked meal in a restaurant,” Gibson said. “I asked for my bill and the waitress said there was no bill. An elderly man and woman took care of it. We went over to thank them and they said they had no one in the war, but they wanted to do something for us boys to welcome us home. I never had a home though until I met this lady.”

Gibson ended his presentation by turning to his wife Josephine and giving her a heartfelt I love you.

“We’ve been married 71 years,” Irwin said. “She makes my home.”

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Category: Multimedia, People & Places, Photo Galleries

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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