- Jim Keel was 21 when he was called to service in January 1943.
- He was awarded a Bronze Star Medal for his actions at the Battle of the Bulge.
- “It was for being in a location where it wasn’t easy to be,” is all Keel will say about his Bronze Star.
- Keel remains a small percent of World War II veterans still alive.
Even as a 5-year-old, Jim Keel’s hands were on a steering wheel.
It was his father’s black Model T back then in 1927. Keel, too short for his feet to reach the pedals, stood up to navigate the car moving at a slow roll.
He just had to make it through an open gate on the family’s Missouri land in the Ozark Mountains. Keel took a sharp left turn instead, crashing into the nearby pig pen.
“It didn’t even bother them,” Keel, now 99, says. “I was just barely moving.”
Driving has been in his blood ever since.
At 17, he’d make the three-hour haul north to St. Louis to…