While attending the Waterloo Memorial Day Service in 2009, I took some photographs of some people attending the services. I took a photo of an elderly gentleman I presumed was a WWII Vet as he wore a World War II army uniform hat. I took the photo and put it in my files. I entered the photograph in the 2010 Our Iowa Photo Contest, and it was selected as a finalist in the Apr/May People Category.
I entered the same photograph in the 2010 National Cattle Congress Photo Contest, where it received an Honorable mention. About a month after the Cattle Congress contest, I received a call from the daughter-in-law of the Veteran pictured in the photograph. She wanted to know if I was the Robert Hill who took the picture of the Veteran whose photo was in the Apr/May Our Iowa Magazine.
It seems that she had seen the photo in the Our Iowa magazine while she was waiting in her Dentists' Office –and recognizing the photo as her father-in-law, she set out to find me. She was having no luck as the Our Iowa Editorial staff would not release my contact information. She saw the photo again at the National Cattle Congress Photography Contest. She called the Cattle Congress staff, and they apparently did not have any problem releasing my name and number. She was glad she found me and wanted to thank me for honoring her father-in-law and told me that he wanted to meet me.
I met Robert Troudt in October 2010. He arrived with his daughter and daughter-in-law, and he spent an hour and a half sharing his WWII Stories - some of which his daughters had not heard before. Most people know the phrase "Pointy end of the spear" when referring to the men moving into an area before launching a campaign. Robert Troudt was at the point of the spear. He went out ahead of his company as a scout, EOD Technician, sniper, and who knows what else. Robert told a story about how he shot a python that dropped on him while he was hiding under a tree - unfortunately, he was in the middle of 70,000 enemy soldiers. He made it back to camp and told me that it took six villagers to bring the snake back. They made a billfold for him out of that snake. (Probably a lot of billfolds)!! And he went on to say, "And, I still have it," as he pulled the well-worn billfold out of his pocket.
He's a true hero, modest, soft-spoken, and I do not doubt that he was a badass in the jungle. He was a delight to visit with, and thanks to the photograph in the Our Iowa Magazine, I had a chance to meet him.