The expression, 'man of many talents, master of none,' partly applies to 88-year-young Mount Pleasant resident Wesley 'Wes' Greavu. Except the latter half bears no substance because he always found a way to achieve whatever he put his mind to. Greavu truly was a 'Jack of all trades.'
Born in South St. Paul, Minn. in 1929, Greavu enlisted in the service and became a flight radio operator for the U.S. Air Force at the age of 17 despite never making it past the ninth grade. After completing his flight training at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas, he completed a short stint with the Army Air Core in 1945 which later became the Air Force in 1947.
"I didn't go in to be hero or do a damn thing," explaining that the only reason he joined the Air Force in the first place was to take care of his immediate family back home.
During his four years of service for his country he mainly operated B25's and occasionally C47's. Much of Greavu's field work during his military career is kept off-the-record, so all we are left with are segments of reconnaissance missions that Greavu entombs deep inside his memory bank.
"I was on a mission that I never wanted to be anything more than a private, and you ask why? Because it's something that ain't in the books and you're not going to find it anywhere," Greavu said, recalling a mission to rescue pilots from a prison camp at an undisclosed location in Germany. "There's no record of any of this stuff."
Greavu said he was in charge of the operation because he was the most proficient in Morse Code compared to all of his comrades. He admitted he had no clue of his whereabouts when the pilot dropped him off at the German prison camp. But Greavu did recall rescuing the American prisoner of war. Everything that happened in between is a matter of confidentiality, he noted.
On another mission, Greavu saved two Navy pilots in the thick of the Bermuda Triangle. Their plane suffered engine failure and Greavu was flying overhead to Germany at the time. He intercepted their SOS distress signal and Greavu alerted personnel stationed at Miami and the matter was resolved.
"I don't believe everything they write, but they say I was a good guy," he added.
Greavu's tales of valor end here, but his list of accomplishments are numerous. After the service he moved to Eau Clair, Wisc. and opened a dance studio, where he taught the waltz, samba, tango and chacha ballroom dancing. In 1965, he graduated from the PGA school of golf, turning a lifetime hobby into a profession.
"As a pro golfer I've played in damn near every state," Greavu said recalling three hole-in-one's during tournament play and four more recreationally.
During his short-lived golf career on tour, Greavu had the pleasure of playing against some of the game's greats including Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. He golfed with a list of celebrities, including Frank Sinatra.
"Arnold Palmer knocked me down and Jack Nicklaus picked me up at the 19th hole," he laughed, referencing to after a tournament in St. Paul, Minn. when Palmer bumped into him by accident while he was drinking a glass of champagne.
He decided it was time to step away from the game, so he hung up the clubs and pursued a sales career with C.A. Swanson foods. After a few sales and making a quick buck with them, he and his wife Jean (whom he married back in 1953), packed up and moved to Crawfordsville, Indiana. There he was offered a sales job at MidStates selling packaging products. During their stay in Crawfordsville, Greavu and Jean had three sons - Wesley Charles, John Wesley, Joel Eugene and two daughters Wendy and Sherrill Ann.
Greavu's job at MidStates was simply a stepping stone that led him into the newspaper strapping business, where he would go on to become the vice president of PowerStrap, Inc. based out of the UK. Here, his claim to fame was his invention of the Twistrap, a fully-automatic newspaper bundling mechanism that revolutionized the pressing procedure. After tying up ends with PowerStrap, back in the 1980s, he decided to startup a consulting business of his own, Wes Greavu Consulting, specializing in the newspaper industry with clients such as USA Today.
When asked how he would sum up all of the transitions he's made over the span of his lifetime that have led up to to this point, Greavu smiled and said, "I guess I just enjoy life."
"I don't know how I got around I must have lived eight lives or something," he chuckled.
Greavu is an active member of VFW Post 10624 located at 1411 Stuart Engals Blvd, Mount Pleasant.