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World War II Army veteran named October ‘Hero of the Month;’ still runs own business at age 95

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LIMON, Colo. (KDVR) — The sign that greets you on the edge of this Eastern Plains town promises that Limon is “open for business.” That includes a small petroleum company on the west edge of town, now in its 74th year, with the same boss today as the day the business started.

Don Morrison is 95 years old. But you’ll still find him behind his desk at D-J Petroleum, Inc., running the company as president. It’s the kind of leadership he may have first learned way back in World War II, where he was the nose gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress, carrying out bombing missions over Germany. He was part of the United States Army Air Corps 447th Bombardment Group.

“We flew into Brandenburg, Germany toward the end of the war, and we were just bombarded from every direction. I don’t know how we ever got out of there,” Morrison told FOX31. He was just a teenager when he left Limon to serve his country.

When he returned, he started his petroleum company. A few years later, he started a life with his wife Helen. They’ve been married 70 years.

“And we’ve just had a very happy marriage,” Helen Morrison told FOX31.

Most everyone in this town of 2,000 knows Don, and many know about his heroics during World War II. Last year, one of Morrison’s employees decided to pay tribute to him. They reached out to a group of local artists called “Some Girls and a Mural,” and commissioned a painting on one of D-J Petroleum’s large white fuel tanks on the edge of town.

“(The employee) approached us when we were working on another mural, and asked us to do a surprise mural for Don, and he was telling us the story of Don’s mission, and it just, immediately we gravitated toward it and we thought this would be a fun one to bring alive. And just share a piece of his history with the community,” said Kayla Ravenkamp, one of the artists who completed the painting.

Now, every time you drive into town, you see that painting of a cloudy sky over Germany, and a fleet of B-17 aircraft helping save the day. The mural spells out Morrison’s name and dates of service. 

To this town, Don has always been a hero. To his wife, same thing.

“And I’m proud of his career, he’s been very successful,” said Helen Morrison.

So FOX31 decided to make it official. We named Morrison our FOX31 Problem Solvers Serving Those Who Serve Hero of the Month. Along with a plaque, Morrison receives a $750 gift card from our Serving Those Who Serve sponsors, Rocky Mountain Honda DealersColorado Veterans Project and the Leo Hill Charitable Trust.

To nominate a veteran, active duty service member, family member or volunteer for next month’s Hero of the Month, fill out the nomination form here.

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