April Military Hero
Private First Class Army Veteran Harold Slavik is your Military Hero for the month of April.
Harold Slavik is your Military Hero for the month of April.
Standing at nearly 6’1” as an eighth-grader Harold excelled at sports, from baseball, basketball, volleyball, and track. He stayed busy not just in the classroom and the court but also at his family farm near Inez, where he grew up helping his family with their crops.
“When it was ready, we had to pick it by hand we didn’t have machinery,” says Harold.
Harold adding that each year the crop sacks seemed to get heavier and heavier.
“Everything in the field my mother out there pulling a sack. And every year we graduated to a bigger sack. Each year you got a bigger crop sack until you got big enough to pull a 280-pound sack,” says Harold.
Harold and his family had to work hard to keep the farm up, instilling a very strong work ethic in him from a young age as well as learning valuable mechanic skills that would have a huge impact on his life.
“We didn’t go to town to get tools, we built it here. We butchered our own hogs. We butchered our own cattle, and so we didn’t go to town because we didn’t have the money to do so we had to work hard to keep the farm up,” says Harold.
Harold was drafted into the Army in 1964 as a Private First Class, and with his mechanic skills would be tasked with working on the Army vehicles out in the field during the Vietnam war.
“Tanks. Yeah, M-60s and jeeps and everything that got to you know got hit had to work on it,” says Harold.
Harold says that military vehicles were actually easier to work on rather than civilian ones, with tank engines that just rolled out, for fast replacement.
“They’re made to pull an engine out of a tank. It rolls out, rolls out and you roll it back another one back in and start hooking everything up,” says Harold.
After serving in the Army Harold returned to the family farm to help and also worked as a field mechanic in the oil fields. His mechanic skills were so stellar that he would go on to own his own mechanic business in Mission Valley for 17 years, and there’s no engine he can’t fix.
“Everything to me is simple, I’ve been doing it for so long,” says Harold.
Harold is active in the local Veterans of Foreign Wars where he was the dance chairman for many years, organizing Sunday dances…and his dance moves would eventually lead him to finding his wife, Dianna who just happened to show up to one of his dances.
“Two-stepping, rock and roll. Just about anything that comes on,” says Harold
Together they have many kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids, many of them taking after Harold and his love for automobiles. On his property, you can find a variety of cars that Harold has either fixed or is currently fixing up, from a Mercedes, a multitude of tractors which by the way are for sale, and his all-time favorite…a ’56 Ford pickup truck. And you can’t forget his mechanic shop sidekick, Lucky.
From being a talented mechanic, Vietnam War Veteran, and family man, Harold says he just enjoys helping others.
“If they need help, I’ll be glad to help ‘em. My point is if anyone needs help, I’ll help ‘em, I’m that type, I’d rather not take a dollar to help somebody,” says Harold
Thank you, Harold, for your service to your country, and thank you to all the Veterans out there. To nominate a Military Hero please click here.
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