Black History Month: Saluting A Local Hero
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – In today’s Black History Month salute. We take a look at a man who served during World War II.
He remembers working on one Pittsburgh roadway when it was nothing but dirt.
Inside their Homewood home, two brothers, Leroy and Kenneth Yuille reminisce about the past.
“I remember everything that country people did and the way they did it,” Leroy said. “I remember we had to milk cows, we had to feed the pigs, chicken and all those things.”
Leroy has trouble hearing well except when you ask him his age.
“I was born in 1910. You can figure it out,” Leroy said. “I’m 102.”
He remembers when World War II broke out and the call came to serve.
“I joined the NAVY because I didn’t want to go to the ARMY,” Leroy said. “I didn’t complain because it would have been useless. I had to go somewhere.”
However, his wife, Lena, did not complain about him going into the service.
Leroy did not serve overseas, but said he never encountered any problems because of his skin color.
“I didn’t have no race problems at all. None,” he said.
But, he said he wore out his uniform and doesn’t have it anymore.
Originally from Virginia, Leroy is one of 10 children who made the move to Pittsburgh when he got older to escape poverty.
“I came here and got a job. I went to work and sent some money to help my mom. And then sometime later, my mom decided to move the family to Pittsburgh and she brought him,” Leroy said.
Besides his brother Kenneth, two sisters, Gladys and Sadie are still alive. After the war, he went back to construction to help build roads.
“Mt. Washington Roadway that went up across that mountain. I helped build that road,” Leroy said.
He served as a deacon at the Rodman Street Missionary Baptist Church for many years.
So, what’s his secret for long a life?
“It’s just a blessing of God. My life is the blessing that I lived to see 100,” Leroy said.
Besides his time in the Navy, Leroy worked for 35 years at U.S. Steel Corporation’s Homestead plant.
He was married to his Lena for 51 years and hopes to celebrate his 103rd birthday this October.