Monday, April 9, 2018

Honoring Pigeoneer, Ed Schmidt

Long time AU member, Ed Schmidt, has devoted his life to pigeons, the national organization and service to this country.

Ed was fascinated with pigeons by the age of 6.  At 14, he joined the Elgin, Illinois Homing Pigeon Club.  At the young age of 100, Ed remains an active member in the club to this day.

His involvement with homing pigeons led him to be chosen as a Pigeoneer in WW II as a US Army Staff Sergeant in the Fighting 279th Pigeon Signal Unit.

Schmidt and his unit trained homing pigeons to carry messages to troops quickly to areas that radio signals could not reach or posed a threat if sent over open air.  The pigeons were taken to the front lines armed with small red capsules that contained vital information to be taken back to headquarters.  Only the best birds were used and the elite were trained to fly at night.

Rightfully so, Ed is very proud of the work his unit did saving many lives.  

When Schmidt returned home, he managed to bring home his favorite pigeon, Lady.  Ed dreamed of becoming a veterinarian but instead made a living by determining the sex of baby chicks within the first two weeks of life.  

Eventually the hatcheries he worked with moved south and so he moved and built his career with a brokerage company.  Ed has been retired for some time.  Still today, Ed travels throughout the south and midwest as an auctioneer.  

He has served as president for the Fox Valley Combine, Elgin Homing Pigeon Club, the Chicago Feed Club and the American Racing Pigeon Union.  Ed was inducted into the AU Hall of Fame and received an achievement award from the Dixie Southern Racing Pigeon Association.

Because of this list of lifetime achievements, the Fox Valley Combine recently honored Ed with his peers present.  The combine made a presentation on behalf of their local organizations and the AU as well.  

Ed said, "The key to my long life is that I never smoked, never drank and never went out with girls, but only one of these is true...I never smoked.  Luck and genes have been on my side."

In addition to a handsome clock, the combine gifted him with a monogrammed jacket and Fighting 279th t-shirt.  Ed was most humble and appreciative and thanked the AU, the combine, club and all involved for his special tribute.

AU member, John Rems shared details of the event and said, "We all had a wonderful time with this Legend!"

Ed, thank you for your support of your hobby and service to this country!