While Joseph C.H. Bales may have fought in what is commonly known as the “Forgotten War,” his service, sacrifice and commitment to his country, family, and fellow veterans will forever be remembered in the Fremont community.
Along with serving as the namesake for the local Joseph C.H. Bales Disabled American Veterans Chapter 18 in Fremont, and being a driving force behind the creation of Fremont’s Avenue of Flags and Eternal Flame, the longtime Fremont resident and Purple Heart recipient’s achievements will now also be memorialized through a time capsule buried beneath the flag pole that stands outside the local DAV chapter.
“We want to take this opportunity to acknowledge one of our mentors,” Al Martinez, a longtime friend of Bales and DAV colleague, said during a time capsule dedication ceremony on Wednesday. “More than a brother, more than a father, more than a grandfather, more than a lot of things men are not able to do. He stepped up to the plate; he was a good family man, a good veteran, and a very dear friend.”
During the dedication ceremony, Martinez read from the DAV Chapter’s mission statement, which was written by Bales, alongside current DAV Commander R.J. Riggs — who is also Bales nephew —and two of Bales’ children — daughter, Judi Main and son, Joe Bales.
The time capsule dedicated to Bales includes a variety of personal effects of the late Fremonter, who was 82 when he died in 2010. The items include patches and medals from his time in the U.S. Marine Corps, baseball caps from his time in the American Legion and DAV, and a photo of him and his wife, Carolyn.
“We put a picture of my mom and dad together both in their auxiliary shirts to show that they did this together,” Judi Main said. “They were very good parents and instilled in us the pride and how important it is to do for others.”
Main said that after her father returned to Fremont in 1952 after being wounded while serving in Korea, Bales dedicated his life to helping fellow veterans.
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“Everything he did was for a purpose and he spent his whole life after he came back from the war doing this and building this,” she said. “Fremont was very important to my dad, he lived here his entire life and came from very humble beginnings. So to have something that has his name on it means everything in the world, because what he did was not in vain. He did it so what other guys gave up was not in vain.”
Throughout his life as a veteran, Bales was a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 854 and a past commander of American Legion Post 20. He had been a member of the Fremont Honor Guard of the VFW and American Legion. He was a past commander of the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 18, and was instrumental in starting a thrift store for the DAV.
He and Eldon Karlin headed the committee to put Fremont’s Eternal Flame in place, and Joe and Clayton Koch are credited with starting Fremont’s Avenue of Flags.
“As a parent you always think of what legacy you are going to leave for your kids and the legacy that he left for us was something that we share with the whole community,” Main said.
For Martinez and Riggs, along with wanting to continue Bales’ legacy in the hearts and minds of Fremonters through future generations, they also want the time capsule to serve as another reminder of all the things he did for the local DAV chapter which now bears his name.
“We want to maintain the legacy because we never really had a chapter home before him, and we want to make sure we protect his legacy so it can be perpetuated for as long as possible,” Martinez said.