When you work with a guy for 33 years, you get to know him very well. Such was the case in working with D. H. “Dutch” Borcherding in The Missourian newsroom for all those years. He began with The Missourian as a sportswriter and then became sports editor. His newspaper career began at the New Haven Leader.
Rarely did “Dutch” lose his temper, or even complain. He was careful, very cautious, in his criticism of people, coaches, teams, the officiating of a game, or players. He usually saw the good side of people, events and just about anything. We never knew his politics. We didn’t know if he was a Democrat or Republican. We didn’t know if he had a favorite high school team except that he was a graduate of New Haven High School way back in 1937 and his leanings were in that direction, but not to a fault.
We always felt the fact that he had been a prisoner of war had a lot to do with his personality and outlook on life. He didn’t talk a whole lot of those days in a POW camp in Germany during World War II. If you asked him a question about it, he would talk some about his military career. He always said he was treated fairly well in the camp where he was. He was an Army Air Force POW and the Germans treated the Air Force boys better than the foot soldiers. They respected the Air Force except toward the war’s end when the American flyboys had bombed some German cities off the map. “Dutch” was a POW from January 1944 until April 1945.
He related that the prisoners in his camp had a tough time toward the end of the war because Germany didn’t have much in the way of food. That situation was true for the German people also. The German men and, late in the war, young boys were fighting in the war and what farming there was was left to the women. When the German guards left the camp in April 1945 as the war neared an end, the POWs left the camp and walked for days to find American troops. Those were days when they had little food.
He never really complained much about being a POW. “It wasn’t too bad,” he would say. He wasn’t one to be bitter and carry a grudge.
“Dutch” had a fondness for
the American Red Cross because of the “care” packages the POWs received from that organization. He didn’t waste any time when he got out of the service to become an active member of the organization in Franklin County. He worked in many volunteer roles and served a term as chairman of the county Red Cross organization. He also assisted the Red Cross Bloodmobile. He didn’t like to hear criticism about the Red Cross.
Baseball probably was his favorite sport. He played baseball on New Haven teams and when he had time, he even umpired games. Little league baseball was one of his interests and he helped those organizations, such as the Khoury League. He covered Washington High School sports more than Borgia, but when New Haven had its glory days, he spent time covering that school. For years he was an active member of the Washington High School Athletic Association.
For years he was active at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ, even serving as president of the parish council. He worked with the Boy Scouts and the Franklin County Silver Games. He was a volunteer for more than 60 years.
He was a member of a number of veterans organizations. He volunteered with them and always would answer their calls. He also enjoyed being a member of the Lions Club. Many honors came his way for his volunteer work. In 2001, The Missourian presented its Washingtonian Award to “Dutch.”
“Dutch” and his wife Delores had two boys and he was very proud of Bradley and Bruce, especially when they graduated from college.
An unassuming man, kind, friendly, with a strong work ethic, who accepted responsibility, knew how to meet deadlines, was a good person, good to work with, eager to improve, of strong character, and was mentally and physically tough. This was one POW that the enemy couldn’t “break.” He was a member of the Greatest Generation, growing up during the Great Depression and a fighter for our freedoms in World War II.
He was a true patriot, warrior and champion of public service.