Gene Hardin of Fulton has been named the Mexico Veterans Home Veteran of the Month.
Hardin served with the U.S. Navy and Air Force for close to 20 years before transitioning to civilian life as an ironworker in Fulton until his retirement in 1989.
Hardin was born in Columbia as one of 12 children to his father, a chief engineer for the University of Missouri, and a homemaker mother. He grew up playing ball, hunting rabbits and helping out on the family farm, but by the time he got older, he felt called to follow the eight other men in his family and head into the armed forces.
"(Military service) was my duty, and I was determined to do it," he said.
Enlisting in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he served there from 1945 to 1947. Following a tour of the Pacific Theater, he served in the Naval Reserves from 1947-1950. He was then placed back on Navy Active Duty from "50-'54.
The next three years saw him serve in a different branch of the military on the Air Force Reserves, after which he re-enlisted in the reserves and served until 1964.