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94-year-old Colfax resident still gives back to the community

Published: Friday, April 19, 2013 11:23 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, April 19, 2013 12:22 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Submitted Photo)
Andy Conn served in World War II as a member of the 535th Artillery Battalion. He was drafted into service in 1942 and returned home in 1945 after taking part in D-Day Plus 1, The Battle of the Bulge and other engagements.
Caption
(Submitted Photo)
Andy Conn's family traveled from across Iowa to surprise him during a ceremony in which he received his 60-year membership certificate from the American Legion.

For Colfax resident Andy Conn, slowing down is something he has never considered an option.

While he has been retired for a number of years, the 94-year-old man always manages to find a way to keep himself occupied.

“I just like to have something to do. I need to stay busy,” Conn said. “I know a lot of people who have just sat down and stopped doing anything … They don’t last long.”

For Conn, a man who divides his time between a number of community organizations, the idea of not being an active member of the community is the first step toward dying.

To get an idea of how busy Conn is, one only needs a list of all the organizations with which he is involved. He is the President of the Senior Citizens Center in Colfax, he is the Vice-Commander of the American Legion post, and he is an active member of AmVets, the Mingo Men’s Club and the Mingo-Colfax division of the Lion’s Club.

Conn was recently surprised by his family, members of the community and his post with a celebration of his 60-year membership in the American Legion. While he believes he has actually been in the legion for 64 years, his original post did not maintain records of his involvement.

The World War II veteran has been involved with Colfax’s Post 175 of the American Legion since 1953. Conn was drafted into the military and spent his tour of duty as a jeep driver in the 535th Artillery Battalion.

Conn can recall scouting ahead of the battalion’s artillery placements and driving in circles over an area with his lieutenant, checking for landmines.

“He told me that it’d be better if the two of us blew something up rather than a whole truck-load of men,” Conn said.

Conn’s public service hardly ended upon his return in 1945, though. Among the many jobs he held, he worked for the City of Colfax and for the school district.

His biggest commitment to the community now is his role as the President of the Colfax Senior Citizens Center. Conn is responsible for the administration of the non-profit as well as the majority of the Center’s day-to-day tasks.

He arrives each weekday morning at 6:30 a.m. to open the building, make coffee and greet his regulars. He then helps out with the Meals on Wheels distribution at the Senior Center over the lunch hour, and stays afterward to entertain anyone who wants to stick around. 

“I enjoy it. I have a lot of fun with the people who come in … like to get them mad at me sometimes,” he jokes. 

To say that Andy Conn is a fixture in the community would be putting it lightly, and he says he still has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.

“I guess I’ll stop when I can’t do it anymore. I don’t see that happening.”

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