Thursday, February 23, 2017
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Pictured in top row, from left: James Roger Darnell (Korea War), Harry Morton Darnell Jr. (remained in the USA), Eugene Darnell (Germany). Bottom row: Jack Darnell (Vietnam), Scotty Darnell (Vietnam) Michael Darnell (1969 Germany).
Family of servicemen
Michael Darnell was born July 25, 1949, and raised in Montgomery County. He is the son of the late Harry and Allene Scott Darnell.

From this union 12 children were born; James Roger, Eugene, Jerri, Harry Jr., Sara, Claude, Jack, Vernon “Fuzzy,” Scotty, Michael and one that passed at birth and another at age 2. Michael states that his childhood was when “family and people cared about people more than they do now. They would bring food to homes to aid others and if someone died, people would visit and help the family. This day and time now everyone is for self only.”

Michael graduated from Mt. Sterling High School after attending Dubois School. After high school graduation, Michael entered the workforce where he was employed for two years at Cowden’s Manufacturing.

While attending Dubois School, Michael’s favorite teacher was Patty Turley (deceased). “She carried herself so well. She had such a lovely and sweet demeanor. Ms. Turley was so respectful,” Michael said.
After the schools were combined, Michael’s first year at Mt. Sterling High School was difficult for him.

“I had a teacher that repeatedly called me Mitchell Darnell every day. When I told him, my name was Michael he told me that I would answer to what he called me.”

In 1969, Michael was drafted by the Army and stationed in Wruzburg, Germany, for two years. He had orders for Vietnam, but the plans were changed when he was stationed in California. He was also stationed outside of Chicago where he was a part of the Army honor guard that managed military funerals for six months.

Michael’s greatest accomplishment is when he returned home from service and realized that he completed service to our country as the last male in his family. Six out of the eight brothers served in the Army. They each received a letter stating they had been drafted, therefore, they didn’t have an option not to serve. Michael wishes that he would have had the time in Germany to travel to Europe, but he was out of leave while there. It wasn’t until after he returned home he learned so much about Europe.

After returning home, he worked at Hobart Manufacturing for 19 years. Michael is currently employed at CMWA in Paris. CMWA produces aluminum wheels for Toyota. He has been a faithful employee for 26 years as a crib attendant.

Michael would have loved to gone to college with hopes of being a scientist. He loves to study how things work. He is so proud of his children graduating from college.

Michael is the wonderful father of Andrea Jones, Allene Michelle Darnell Hunt and Christopher Michael Darnell. He and his “Queen,” Vicki Lynn Botts Darnell, have been married for 33 years.
“He’s my rock! I can’t do without him and he’s the love of my life” shared Vicki.

Michael loves to read and enjoys taking pictures. He has served more than 20 years as a deacon at High Street Christian Church and sings in the choir.

One of the hardest things that Michael has endured is dealing with death of family members. His strong faith has helped him with the loss. He recently lost another brother, Claude Darnell, to cancer. Michael transported his brother from chemotherapy treatments and he was later admitted to a nursing home. Watching his health severely decline was tough to deal with. Michael, Jack, Jerri and Sara are the only surviving siblings.

This family has always been a very “close-knit” family. Michael loves his family. Deidre Darnell (niece) said it well: “He’s a very laid back type of person and has a smile that lights up the room with his presence.”
With great gratitude, it’s very important that this family know their service to this country is greatly appreciated.

Editor's note: This is the third article in a series for Black History Month.

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