Osseo resident, C.J. Spartz, raised the flag Wednesday, July 31, before the Minnesota Twins – Kansas City Royals game at Target Field, an honor the Twins organization bestows on veterans.
“That was really quite a night,” C.J. said following the game. Surrounded by family members, C.J. was surprised by friends and acquaintances who greeted him at the flagpole in right field, all of whom considered it a special event to witness.
“This was really, really cool. I’m so glad I was here,” said Paul Probst, a close family friend.
A World War II veteran, C.J. enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1942 and trained at vocational school in Chicago. He taught welding at Navy Pier and later was stationed at the Naval Air Station in Norfolk, Virginia, where he served for the duration of the war as an aviation metalsmith. He received a Special Commendation for his service administering aid to comrades following an accidental explosion at the Air Station that killed and wounded hundreds of servicemen, women and civilians.
C.J. and his wife Kim, longtime members of the Osseo American Legion and St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, were active community members, serving in a number of capacities. Widowed in 2000 following 50 years of marriage, Kim and C.J. had seven children, four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, many of whom attended the game.