Army Truck Driver Finds Home in Belle Plaine

Bill Fabel spent about 15 months overseas during his service to our country. He served in the United States Army from 1958 to 1961. “It was a good experience, but I was glad to be home,” he explained.

BillBill attended basic training at Fort Carson in Colorado. Soon after completing this training, he was stationed in Europe. His main job was as a truck driver taking different vehicles where they needed to be and delivering supplies mainly throughout France, Germany, and Spain.

“I was given a certificate for 100,000 miles of accident-free driving during my time overseas,” Bill said.

Bill, who sometimes drove with a group of six soldiers, spent many a day driving.

“Wherever we ended up each day is where we stayed for the night,” he said, “One time while driving, I saw a sign that read ‘Moscow: 20 miles.’ It was a lot of driving.”

After returning home, Bill continued to drive trucks and worked at a glass factory in Shakopee for 37 years. Today, Bill resides at The Lutheran Home: Belle Plaine.

Because of his veteran status, he recently had the opportunity to fly in a World War II era biplane. This experience was made possible by the Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation, a non-profit organization founded in 2011 to honor U.S. military veterans living in long-term care facilities. The biplane was a 1942 Boeing Stearman, which had been used to train military aviators in the 1940s. Each veteran enjoyed a 20-minute ride.

“It was a quite a ride,” Bill said, “The plane made a lot of noise, but it sure was fun. It was neat to look down at all the water.”

Bill is only one of 80 veterans currently residing in a TLHA care community. In our 120th year of caring for souls, we are honoring both our veteran residents and team members. Our history begins with one family’s loss during the Civil War. A 15-year-old Ernst Boessling from Belle Plaine volunteered to serve with the Minnesota troops. He died in September of 1863 in service to his country at Vicksburg, Mississippi.

His mother, Sophie, had saved the government death benefits she received all the years after Ernst died. Wanting to provide a home for others like herself, she donated the money and her family’s farmland to build das Alten und Waisenheim—the Aged and Orphans’ Home. Now more than a century later, Sophie’s gift continues to benefit countless lives.

TLHA has active senior living, assisted living and memory care communities in Belle Plaine Minnesota, and River Falls, Fountain City, and Watertown, Wisconsin. Looking for a place to call home? Visit