By Andy Torbett
Chairman Piscataquis Republican Party
It was a beautiful evening, the smell of lilacs in the air, as local dignitaries and native sons of Dexter met on the grounds of The Blaine House May 20 to join Maine’s First Lady and the Governor in honoring Maine’s only married World War II veteran couple, Guy and Nancy Ellms. After Rep. Paul Davis, Rep. Ray Wallace and their spouses greeted and exchanged pleasantries with the Ellms and their lovely daughter, Linda, who was visiting from Chicago, the group made their way into the Governor’s Mansion. Soon after the group was seated, First Lady Ann LePage appeared to greet the veterans and express her excitement and pleasure on having the opportunity to honor them at The Blaine House.
Ann LePage fairly glows with energy when she enters a room and, with her genuine infectious personality, it is easy to see why she has become a favorite with veterans throughout the State of Maine. The Governor’s wife immediately focused on making the Ellms, along with all the guests, feel right at home and relaxed in the Executive residence. It wasn’t long into the conversations around the sitting area that the Governor and the First Daughter arrived.
Governor LePage and his Daughter, Lauren, made sure to impress upon the Guests of Honor how grateful they were for the service and sacrifice the Ellms had given to this Country and the State in World War II. After a short time of drinks and conversation, the call was given for dinner. The Governor made sure that Guy and Nancy and daughter, Linda, were seated next to him at the table and that they were treated to a unforgettable night of good food, good friends and great conversation in their honor.
Guy and Nancy Ellms are both War World II Veterans. Guy was born March 13th, 1919 in Dexter. Nancy was born July 8th, 1925 in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Guy was drafted right after Pearl Harbor and served in the 433rd Anti-Aircraft and Supply Battalion as a truck driver. He landed in Casablanca in the North Africa campaign and saw action throughout Italy in Anzio, Monte Cassino, Naples and Rome. Then over to France helping to drive the Nazis back up into Germany, where he witnessed many defeated and ragged Germans surrendering in droves to their convoys alongside the roads.
His wife Nancy enlisted at the age of 20 near the end of the war and was stationed stateside in Washington, D.C. as a Navy WAVE. She contends she was a “favorite” to the soldiers, as her duties were to handle and send the many discharge papers to the soldiers who were coming home. Nancy and Guy Ellms have been married for 65 years and have two daughters. When asked the secret to their success, they smile and say, “Well, we just like each other.”
On a personal note, I had the opportunity to meet Guy Ellms and then his wife Nancy, when Guy introduced himself on one of my jobsites in Dexter. I was impressed with his wit and captivated by the stories of his time at war. I was further impressed when he introduced me to his lovely wife Nancy. I mentioned the couple to First Lady Ann LePage and she expressed an interest in meeting them. I talked with Rep. Paul Davis and Rep. Ray Wallace and they agreed that it would be nice to recognize this great couple.
The Ellms were willing to have dinner with the Governor on the one condition that we show honor to all veterans. Guy and Nancy did not want to be seen as something different than their fellow warriors. This seems to be the sentiment I hear from every veteran.
I had the privilege to drive the Ellms to Augusta. All through the evening this wonderful couple asked, “Why are you doing this for us?” Even at the end of the evening as we shook hands at his home in Dexter, Guy Ellms asked again, “Why?” What I said to him I would say to every veteran in this Great State of Maine and across this Nation; there is no parade, dinner, award or honor so great that it could ever repay the magnitude of the sacrifice and service our veterans have given to this Country, The United States of America. For this they have my undying love, honor and respect. May God Almighty Bless all the Veterans of this Nation.