Story Submitted: Arnie Haire
Born on a family farm in the Bellview area of Miller County, Ga., Elmer O. Haire was a hard worker as he grew up in the depression era. Upon coming to Madison in the late 1930s, Haire began working for Dunn Furniture, a store his uncle Julian Dunn owned. Haire later married Mildred Arnold, of Madison, on Dec. 22, 1940, eventually raising three sons: Arnie, Morris and Gary. According to Haires' children, they were the best parents anyone could have. "He always wanted them to work hard, stay positive, be honest and friendly to everyone," said Arnie Haire.
Haire entered the United States Army on Dec. 1, 1943, and was processed at Camp Blanding, in Starke, Fla.
During his military career during World War II (WWII), Haire was a machine gun Staff Sergeant and oversaw a machine gun section of an infantry heavy artillery company in Scotland, England, France, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Luxembourg and Germany. His duties included supervising 14 personnel-armed two .30 caliber water cooled machine guns. Haire also loaded, aimed and fired heavy artillery to provide automatic fire against enemy personnel and equipment. Additionally, Haire estimated ranges and set sights, and field-stripped the weapon to replace worn and damaged parts or to reduce stoppages.
A member of the Yankee Division (26th Infantry Division, 104th Infantry Regiment, Company D) of 3rd Army under General George Patton, Haire was on the front lines and fought in four major battles such as the Battle of the Bulge, Ardennes, Rhineland and Central Europe. Haire has been awarded the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with four bronze stars, the Purple Heart with an oak leaf cluster, signifying that Haire was wounded twice, and the Presidential Citation Medal, among other awards.
He departed Europe from Marseille, France aboard the S.S. Helen Hunt Jackson troop ship on Nov. 3, 1945 and was honorably discharged on Nov. 26, 1945 at Camp Blanding.
After serving in WWII, Haire returned to Madison and continued working for Dunn Furniture Store. He purchased the store and changed it to Haire Furniture. After retiring, his son Gary "Hammer" Haire ran the store and eventually sold the building to ARC of Madison. Elmer Haire later passed away to be with the Lord on May 3, 1993.