By Matt Mackinder
Clarkston News Editor
INDEPENDENCE TWP. — Each year at Clarkston Junior High School, a local veteran is honored during the school’s Veterans Day celebration.
This year, Clarkston native Donald Steiner was front and center during the Nov. 9 event inside the Performing Arts Center.
Shortly after his 17th birthday, on June 13, 1942, Steiner left Clarkston High School and enlisted in the United States Navy, just as his father had years before. He was one of 200 Clarkston men and women who left Clarkston to serve in World War II.
“God has been so good to me,” said Steiner. “Serving my country was a life-changing experience.”
Steiner saw much of the world from that point forward, beginning at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station, located near Chicago, before being assigned to a Naval Armed Guard as part of a gun crew serving aboard merchant marine vessels sailing from the eastern shores of the United States.
He later sailed between New York and the Caribbean Sea, then across the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea to engage in Naval operations in various ports in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy. He was also involved in the battle to liberate the Philippine Islands and in the invasion of Okinawa.
Steiner was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1945 and came home to Clarkston, married his wife Marjorie, and together, they raised four daughters and one son.
He continued his education at Pontiac Business Institute and Detroit Bible College before working at General Motors in the Truck and Bus group’s accounting department.
Steiner never received his high school diploma, but in 2002, he walked across the stage at Pine Knob Music Theatre to receive his diploma along with the other 475 graduating seniors from that class, all thanks to a bill passed by the U.S. Legislature allowing high schools to award diplomas to World War II GIs who left school to serve their country.
As part of the day’s events at CJHS, students Jackson Miller, Lia Fabrizio, Elly Ryan, Connor King, and Gianna Winningham spoke, and the ninth grade choir sang the “Star Spangled Banner” and “We Honor You.”
Also last Thursday, Andersonville, Clarkston, Independence, and North Sashabaw elementary schools held Veterans Day events.
In addition, the American Legion Campbell-Richmond Post 63 on Ortonville Road held a lunch for veterans on Nov. 9 and the American Legion Chief Pontiac Post 377 on Mary Sue Avenue held a ceremony Nov. 11 that included a rifle salute and “Taps” played by a bugler.
PHOTO: Donald Steiner, middle with wife Marjorie, was honored by fellow veterans and Clarkston Junior High School students and staff last Thursday at the school. Photo: Matt Mackinder