Dennis De Hay was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio. He started to work while still in grammar school selling greeting cards. Then in high school, he worked in a gas station at a time when the attendant filled your tank and cleaned your windshield. After that, he had a job at a drug store as clerk and soda jerk.


De Hay enlisted in the Army in 1961 and served until 1964. While serving in the armored Calvary, he was sent to Germany where he pulled border duty as tank gunner.



Q: Describe a special memory you have of Hesperia.


A: When I first moved to Hesperia, my daughter who lives in Victorville told me that there is only a light-powdered snow and it is gone by noon. That first year it snowed, it was a wet snow, and lots of it. Looking at my house, I mistakenly thought I had moved to the North West Territory. Needless to say, my daughter got a phone call.



Q: What do you do in your free time?


A: Most of my free time is spent working on projects for the Hesperia American Legion post 725. Right now we are getting ready for Hesperia Days. And when I can, I go fishing at Hesperia Lake. That's not to say I don't enjoy an afternoon in my favorite chair watching a good old Western.



Q: Tell us one thing that most people don't know about you.


A: In my younger days I was a cowboy. I had a horse and belonged to a riding club and took part in rodeos. Even to this day I miss Old Cap (my horse Caption).



Q: What is your passion?


A: Right now my passion would be trying to find a building for American Legion Post 725 to move in to which is really hard to do when there is very little money to work with. But the search is on.



Q: What person, living or from history, would you most like to have dinner with and why?


A: Oh, my! There are a few, but the one that stands out the most would have to be Dwight D. Eisenhower a soldier, diplomat and president. Most of all, a down-to-earth individual that had high values, honesty and patriotism. What a conversation we could have.



Q: Where do you get your values from?


A: As a young boy growing up back east, my parents taught me to be respectful to everyone, and to this day I still refer to people as sir or ma'am, open doors for ladies and believe my hand shake and word mean everything. Also, if I wanted any spending money I had to work for it, it wasn't given to me. These were values my parents and grandparents taught me. Responsibility was reinforced in the Army.



Q: Who is someone who had a big influence on your life?


A: Naturally my parents and grandparents go without saying. My wife has been a big influence in my life by being my best friend and confidante.



Q: What is your secret to living a happy, satisfying life?


A: Having a good woman by my side, doing what I can to help others and taking time to smell the roses.



Q: What words of advice do you have for the next generation?


A: Take time to listen to older people that have been around and use their experience to your advantage. Learn to work and don't expect to have things handed to you freely. Be knowledgeable about what is going on in your city, state and federal government. Vote, so no one can take your liberties away from you.



Q: Tell us about the charities that are close to your heart and why.


A: Being a patriotic individual, the American Legion is at the top. It's veterans helping veterans, veterans helping soldiers and their families. And children's programs.



Q: What is something you are particularly proud of?


A: I'm proud of my wife, children and grandchildren foremost. Not too long ago, I arranged to have the Army recruits from the Victor Valley take the oath of office at a High Desert Mavericks game which gave the parents an opportunity to see their son or daughter sworn into the army something most parents never get to experience.



Q: Tell us about your favorite thing about Hesperia.


A: The people. Most of them are friendly, willing to help each other, down to earth and have old-time values.



Q: What's your favorite place to eat in the High Desert?


A: For lunch the VFW Post 2924 on Hesperia Road for their great burgers and fries or onion rings. I really like their burgers. For a sit-down meal, my wife and I prefer one of the buffet-type restaurants in town.



Q: What's your favorite guilty pleasure?


A: An occasional Jim Beam and 7, and smoking, but I really don't feel guilty about any of this.


Who would you like to see profiled in an upcoming Q&A? Drop us a line at Editor@HesperiaStar.com.