He is a lifelong Middlebury, Ind., resident and part-time Fountain Hills, Ariz., resident, a Navy veteran and American Legion member of Fountain Hills Post 58. James R. Breniser, in coordination with Post 58, was awarded the 75-year Continuous Membership and American Legion Valor certificates during a ceremony at Post 210 in his hometown at a regular meeting April 5. Standing with Mr. Breniser is 1st Vice Commander Lonnie Franks and past Post Commander Barry Weldy. Attending the ceremony are daughters Susie (Kevin) Gipson and Laurie (Kevin) Schmidt.
James Robert (Bob) Breniser was born in 1924 in Middlebury and enlisted in the U.S. Navy at 18, March 1943 to April 1946. Basic training was at Great Lakes Naval Training Station in northern Illinois. From there he was stationed in San Francisco and then went to Australia. From there he was in Panama City, Panama, for three months and then he was stationed in the South Pacific for two years. He was stationed at Adm. Thomas Kinkaid’s base, which was beside Gen. Douglas MacArthur's base in New Guinea from 1943-1945. He was the ship’s cook second class and was one of five cooks on the base for 125 people.
After his discharge he worked for NIPSCO for a short time and then worked for his parents after they bought the Middlebury Dairy. He delivered ice and made ice cream.
He and his wife, Bernie, were married in 1950. They had three children and were married for 69 years. He has three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He is still living in the home he moved to in 1961. He has been an avid Cubs fan since he was 12.
He has been a member of The American Legion for 75 years and marched in the Memorial Day parade for about 10 years as a rifleman in the color guard.