WWII Veteran honored for her 100th birthday

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express
World War II veteran Martha Rouin’s 100th birthday was a cause for celebration May 13. American Legion Post Vice Commander Carrie Ahearn organized a drive-by salutation with 39 cars and motorcycles driving in a loop past Martha at Clinton Crest as she watched from a safe distance at the door. Martha’s son Phil, Director of the Yates County Veteran’s Service Agency, says, “She absolutely loved it.” Ahearn called it, “A huge mood-booster for everybody involved.”.

World War II Veteran Martha Danforth Rouin, who honorably served our grateful nation, caring for the sick and wounded, celebrated her 100th birthday May 13. The Yates County Legislature passed a resolution May 11 recognizing her service and her birthday. 

WHEREAS, May 13, 2020 marks the 100th birthday of U.S. Army Veteran Martha D. Rouin; and

WHEREAS, throughout the history of our state and nation, countless brave individuals have answered the call to patriotic duty, including World War II Veteran Martha Danforth Rouin, who honorably served our grateful nation, caring for the sick and wounded, while others risked their lives fighting on the battlefields in European and Pacific theatres for the ideals of democracy; …

WHEREAS, The United States Army, awarded Mrs. Rouin the following military awards: Army Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Service Medal, and World War II Victory Medal, for her honest and faithful service to this county; and 

WHEREAS, we solemnly commemorate the 100th anniversary of her birth and reflect on its significance for past, present, and future generations;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Yates County Legislature recognizes the service of Martha D. Rouin during World War II, extends its gratitude for her contribution to the Allies’ victory and exclaims, “Congratulations!” upon the occasion of her 100th Birthday; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Yates County Legislature, in patriotic tradition, recognizes the importance of honoring all those from Yates County who served in battle and on the home front during the Great War and acknowledges the immeasurable sacrifices that helped to preserve freedom; and be it further

RESOLVED, that copies of this resolution be provided to Martha D. Rouin and the Director of Veterans’ Services.

Born in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts in 1920, as one of three sisters, Rouin was raised during the Great Depression. After completing her Bachelors of Arts degree from Smith College, located in North Hampton, Massachusetts, she joined the military in September, 1943, enlisting in the United States Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps. She graduated from basic training, received specialized advanced medical training and was assigned to the Army Signal Corps as a Surgical Technician at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, and was honorably discharged in 1946.

Following her time in the service, Martha relocated to Manhattan where she continued to dedicate her life to service of others by working in the health care field at several hospitals in New York City; meeting her husband, Marcel Rouin, a U.S. Army Combat-Wounded Veteran. They married in 1953, later had two sons, Christopher and Philip, both U.S. Navy Veterans themselves. The Rouins moved to Steuben County in 1965. There she served for over 25 years as a social worker with the Steuben Department of Social Services working with children services, foster care, older adult protection, and as the nursing home ombudsman. Following her retirement she volunteered countless hours with the Hammondsport Public Library, Glenn Curtis Museum and St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church as well as singing with the Finger Lakes Chorus. 

Martha is a gifted artist, who has enjoyed painting, sketching and drawing cartoons for most of her life; she continues as a member of Keuka Art Guild. She is fortunate to have six grandchildren and one great grandchild. Rouin is also a current member of American Legion Johnson-Costello Post #355.

Martha’s son Phil, Director of the Yates County Veteran’s Service Agency, reports that based on recent research, there are approximately 110 World War II veterans in Yates County, five of whose 100th birthdays will fall within the calendar year 2020.