Northwest Compass is honored to salute the brave men and women who serve and have served in the US Military. We hope you will join us in making the NWC Honor Wall a place to thank our loved ones for their service, share their bravery, document their stories and let them know we will never forget.
My dad was a medic in the United States Air Force when he met my mom, a nurse. You know how there’s always that guy in every group who “knows a guy”? That was my dad. He was funny, kind, generous and outgoing, even making friends waiting in line at the grocery store. He loved his family and enjoyed watching sports, bowling and playing cards with his friends.
Semper fi describes the life and legacy of John Kmetz, Sr. Forever faithful to family, friends, church, community and country, John’s accomplishments in life were too numerous to list here.
Enlisting in the Marine Corps in 1943, Sgt. Kmetz served with honor and distinction and earned many commendations, including the Purple Heart for his bravery in Peleliu where he was wounded in action against the enemy. Those who knew John would not be surprised to learn that he refused the award for some 50 years.
After a brief stint as drill instructor for the FBI, John transitioned to civilian life where he was instrumental in helping unionize miners of the Island Creek Coal Company while simultaneously earning his degree in electrical engineering. In 1959, John moved his family to then-rural Hoffman Estates, where he put his leadership skills to use once again, helping to facilitate incorporation of the village.
Throughout his life John was a passionate volunteer, holding lifetime memberships in the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion where his favorite post was Chaplain, as well as the First Marine Division Association. Shortly before his passing, John was named Hoffman Estates Volunteer of the Year, and even served in the Veteran’s Memorial Color Guard for the November, 2012 Veteran’s Day ceremony.