Paul Pion Gary Verver collection

Paul Pion, a resident at Maine Veterans’ Homes — Augusta,  has been named Veteran of the Month for February.

Pion grew up in Massachusetts during one of the country’s darkest eras — the Great Depression.

“It was one of the most dramatic times of my life,” Pion recalled, according to a news release from the Augusta nonprofit organization.

With a wide age range among his brothers and sisters, he had an older brother who owned a farm in Norridgewock,and went to live with him when he was teenager. He worked on the farm and as soon he was done with high school, joined the Army, again in search of opportunity.

Pion served during the Korean War as a drill sergeant. After four years in the service, he came back to Maine to try to find a job. He worked at Maine Spinning in Skowhegan, which manufactured woolen cloth, for 25 cents an hour.

He decided to go back to his native Massachusetts to search for different work, where he found a job as a meat cutter. At night, he went to school to improve his reading and writing skills.

Besides finding a career in Massachusetts, he also found a wife and started a family. They raised four children: two boys and two girls.

In his free time, he liked to play baseball. He also enjoyed fishing and golf.

His retirement at the age of 62 lasted a whole week. “I was so bored. I couldn’t stand it,” said Pion.

He went back to work part time at Ballard Meats in Manchester, smoking meats and bacon, and butchering livestock and wildlife.

Pion is very modest about his achievements, but he is extremely proud of his role in the Army and his family.

“I didn’t do anything special. I just lived like a normal man. Did my time, got out, got married and raised a family,” he said.