Janet & John Hill

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Honor, Courage, Commitment

Meat the Veteran: Presented By Ebner’s Custom Meats
By Dennis McNabb, Contributing Writer

For the average person, military life is quite challenging. The stress of having to move every few years is in itself enough to turn many people away. Add to that the possibly long periods of separation, as well as the constant worrying over what might happen to those deployed in war-torn areas, and it’s a wonder anyone enlists voluntarily. Fortunately, there are those of us who are made of hardier stuff — people who believe in things like honor and integrity over comfort. People like Janet Hill.

Janet was born in Oregon City in 1936. She was raised in Canby by Leonard and Annette Johnson (hop farmers) and enlisted in the US Navy straight out of high school in 1954 (at the same time as her twin brother). She attended bootcamp at the Naval Training Center in Bainbridge, Maryland. Following that, she continued her training at the Hospital Corps School before reporting for duty at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda (one of the premier US Naval medical facilities in the entire country). She was a member of what was known during World War II as the Corps WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) and served as a medic.

During that time, she met the man who would soon become her husband, John Hill. When Janet became pregnant with their first child, she was honorably discharged. John stayed in, however, and from Maryland they moved to Seattle. John worked on a ship delivering supplies to radar stations in the arctic. A harrowing accident occurred when his ship struck an iceberg and they all had to be rescued. From there, the couple went to Midway Island where he became a Hospital Corpsman. He followed that up with seven years at Virginia Beach, two tours in Vietnam and a stint at the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery in Falls Church, Virginia.

John finally retired from the Navy after 20 years and he and Janet, wanting to return to their roots, moved back to Canby to settle on their family’s farm (owned since 1910). John started a second career with the post office and focused on bringing up their three boys: Stan, Michael, and Norman. Sadly, John passed in 2012, but Janet continues to live on their family farm to this day. An incredibly strong woman, full of grit, determination, and humility, she was reluctant to share her story. She didn’t feel she deserved all of the attention. But that’s exactly why she does deserve it. She and her husband quietly served their country. They didn’t expect gratitude. They didn’t ask for parades. Per the famous JFK quote, they didn’t ask their country what it could do for them, but what they could do for their country. And that made all the difference.

If you see Janet around town, please thank her for her service.

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