Serving his country, his county and his hometown of Advance has occupied most of James Harnes Sr.'s 88 years of life.
During Libertyfest in downtown Cape Girardeau July 4 Harness became the fifth recipient of the Southeast Missourian's Spirit of America Award.
Harnes joined the U.S. Army in 1940, attaining the rank of captain, and served in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He was awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and a Purple Heart along with other medals.
He retired from the National Guard in 1980.
He is a charter member of the Advance Memorial Committee, which built a memorial to the approximately 800 local veterans who have served in wars.
Harness' extensive public service has ranged from memberships on the boards of the Southeast Missouri Hospital Foundation and the Advance Public Schools Foundation to the Bootheel Regional Planning and Economic Development Commission and the Stoddard County Municipal League.
Now in his seventh two-year term as the mayor of Advance, he also is a member of the Advance Community Team, a volunteer community improvement organization, and the Advance Development Corporation.
In his spare time he volunteers at the Missouri Veterans Home in Cape Girardeau.
James Harness Sr. embodies the Spirit of America. We offer our congratulations to him and his community.