Mingo Nesmith, a 91-year-old veteran of World War II and a resident of the Standish Village Assisted Living Residence in Lower Mills, was honored during a special Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony at the Dorchester facility on Sun., Aug. 20.
Born in South Carolina and a barber by trade, Nesmith was drafted into the US Navy at the age of 18. He was stationed in Maryland and Virginia, the Panama Canal, and saw action on many islands in the Pacific. He recalls his time aboard the USS Casa Grande, from where he watched kamikaze pilots flying toward him, and his service in the horrific battles of Leyte, Luzon, and Okinawa.
Nesmith walked into a surprise ceremony at Standish Village where he was joined by his three children, Anthony, Shelene, and Linda. “Having my family together was the most memorable part of the day. I was very surprised,” he said.
During the ceremony, Nesmith was accompanied by a color guard from the Boston-based USS Constitution.The sailors presented him with an American flag and Navy flag.
“Senior Living Residences introduced the Lifetime Achievement Award as a way of giving families and residents a chance to honor a resident and learn about their life stories. Too often we wait until it’s too late, but by using the award we make sure the resident knows how much they mean to others,” said Lauren Basler, EnrichedLIFE Director at Standish Village.
Basler works to provide residents with daily programming, outings and activities that are engaging, cognitively stimulating, and meaningful.
“I picked Mingo specifically because the ‘Greatest Generation’ is a population that is rapidly being lost, and any occasion to say thank you to these heroes is a cause for celebration.”
“The speeches described his military service and the fact that he is a kind and humble man. ‘We love you Mingo’ was a speech given by a resident. They were about his valor in combat and how he raised a wonderful family. His son showed us pictures of the USS Casa Grande,” said Basler.
The event also featured piano entertainment and speeches given by Basler, Anthony Nesmith, and some residents.
Nesmith has been a resident at Standish Village since December 2016 and enjoys exercising and socializing with his friends. He is looking forward to celebrating his 92nd birthday in October.