MAYETTA — Roy Hale, 84, a lifelong reservation resident, has been selected as one of four inductees into the 2014 Holton/Jackson County Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame. Hale, along with Rich and Lynne Mulroy and the late Dr. Carlos Chavez will be honored at an annual banquet that is scheduled for Thursday, February 6 at the EUM Family Life Center in Holton.
Roy Hale has represented his Tribe well for decades.
Hale is being recognized for his contributions to promoting the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation and his past work as a military veteran who helped found the We-Ta-Se American Legion Post #410 in 1985. We-Ta-Se, which means “one who is brave” in the Potawatomi language, is one of the oldest American Indian American Legion posts in the country. In addition, Hale was instrumental in the construction of a building on the reservation named We-Ta-Se that is staffed with two full-time veterans who assist other tribal veterans and their families. For many years, Hale was on the We-Ta-Se staff and also served as an elected officer within Post #410. He is still active in the organization that includes almost 100 members.
Hale is also being recognized for other contributions he has made. He is active with the Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church on the reservation and was the primary caretaker for the Shipshee Cemetery for several years. It was also Roy who initiated placing specialty-made military markers on the graves of Potawatomi veterans buried in cemeteries on the reservation. He has also been an active member in the Jackson County Historical Society.
Biographically, Roy Aloysius Hale was born on the Prairie Band Potawatomi reservation in Mayetta, Kansas on October 19, 1929 to Jane (Blandin) and Joseph P. “Shakey” Hale. During his youth, he and his brother Lawrence “Emery” were raised by their grandmother “Pit-ti-saw” who spoke only the Potawatomi language and lived on the Potawatomi reservation.
In 1942, after the boys became teenagers, they left Kansas to attend Chilocco Indian School in Oklahoma until the 11th grade. Following that, they returned to Kansas and both graduated from Circleville High School in 1948.
Roy Hale in 1951
In 1951 both men were drafted into the Army and became involved in the Korean conflict. Roy became a corporal and worked for the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers of Europe (SHAPE) that was under General Eisenhower at the time and was headquartered in Paris, France. Emery became a platoon leader in the infantry and received several medals and badges for his service.
After the Army, Roy returned to Kansas and began working for the Sunflower Ordinance Army Ammunition plant near DeSoto, Kansas and shortly thereafter joined the Air Force where he served overseas and in the states until 1964.
When he returned he attended and graduated from Haskell College and then became employed there until 1989. Following that, he began his work with We-Ta-Se that is mentioned above.
Dr. Suzanne Heck is the editor of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation newspaper, “Potawatomi News”.