Highland Mid-Kids Radio Club Highland Heroes Series – Jeff Baxter

This is Abbey Cabral with the Highland Mid-Kids Radio Club and today we are continuing our Highland Heroes series by talking with Mr. Jeff Baxter. Thank you for joining us. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?”

“My name is Jeff Baxter, I appreciate the chance to come and be here. So my family consists of me, my wife Susanna, and of course, Adelaide here in seventh grade and son Luke in ninth grade.”

“My wife is originally from Hungary, and so we have that heritage. Myself, I am from the Philadelphia area of Pennsylvania and I have an Irish background. And actually , Luke and Adelaide are triple citizens  – they have three birth certificates, one from Hungary, one from Ireland, and of course, one from being born in America.”

“Hello, my name is Brooklyn Bussard. How did you come to Highland County?

“We came to Highland County in 2013, wanting to find a new place in the country to live. We came from northern Minnesota where the winters are about six months – minus 35 degrees – 12 feet of snow – so we wanted to move to the mountains.”

“Hello, my name is Eleanor White. We understand that you served in the military. Can you tell us about that?”

“I served in the US military in the United States Marine Corps branch, and I did that from 1979 to 1997, and served really all over the world in many different places, including one combat tour in 1990-91 in Desert Storm.”

“Hello, my name is Adelaide Baxter. Could you tell us some of your experiences in Desert Storm?”

“I served 10 years on active duty and an additional eight years as a reservist. And it was during that time in the reserves that my military police unit was called up from Minneapolis, Minnesota, and we attached to a group out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, the Second Marine Division and went to the Middle East for about a week. We spent our time in Saudi Arabia moving closer to the Kuwaiti border and then eventually moved through into Kuwait, and this was known as the ground war – four days of ground combat culminating in the liberation of Kuwait City.”

“My primary job as a platoon sergeant, of a 42 man platoon, was to process Iraqi prisoners into a temporary prison camp, and then the US Army game took them back to Saudi Arabia. It was very stressful, very eventful, but fortunately, not very violent. Just a lot of sleepless nights during that four to five days.”

“What do you currently do?”

“Two years ago, just before I turn 62, the company I was working for, where I was selling industrial chemicals, that company went through some global stresses and strains due to COVID. So there was a global layoff and I got caught up in that, but I was able to move right into early retirement at age 62. And so mainly now I do projects around the house. – and sometimes I do sleep in late.”

“Do you have any hobbies or other interests?”

“I do have a few hobbies. I do like to listen to music_ I play the guitar a little bit. I am somewhat of a firearms enthusiast, so do a lot of target shooting and some hunting. And I like to work out, I have a small gym in my garage. And I think our family tends to travel a bit particularly in the summers, at least a few times a year. I’ve been to 41 different countries in the world, so I like to travel.”

“Do you have any advice or words of wisdom?”

“Based on all of you being students in a school, I often tell my own children that your job is to be the best student you can be. Remember, you’re preparing yourself through your elementary, middle school and high school days to set yourself up for a career – maybe some higher education will be needed. And you really need to focus on your language and your mathematics and your understanding of all of the general subjects that they teach here, because this is what’s going to help you be all you can be in the future.”

“Do you have a motto?”

“The United States Marines have a motto, and in Latin, it’s Semper Fidelis – always faithful. I do have another motto – I often tell Luke and Adelaide, “I’m smarter than the other dads.”

“Would you like to comment on that?”

“It’s true.”

“Thank you for your service and for speaking with us today. This is the Highland Mid-Kids Radio Club for Allegheny Mountain Radio.”

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle. scott@amrmail.org

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