By Jon Schroeder
The Cove Herald
He goes by Little Joe, but that’s just his DJ name.
He’s used to it, though. Joseph Chidboy, 70, has been Little Joe for 26 years, since he returned from Korea. Originally from Barnesboro, Penn., Chidboy moved around a great deal. He started running with the wrong crowd, but found another option.
“Instead of going to jail, I joined the army,” he said. So on June 25, 1956, he drove to Pittsburgh with four or five other guys and enlisted.
“It made a man out of you,” he says. For Chidboy, who grew up not knowing his father, “the army was a home away from home.”
After retiring at Fort Hood in 1978 — he took his children Joe and Arlene to the parade — Chidboy went to college at Central Texas College for the next 42 months, getting a degree in mechanics. From there, he drifted back a little toward his army roots, fixing tanks as part of the Department of Labor maintenance division of civil service starting in 1981.
“I was a Hummer wizard,” he says now, recalling the time he spent putting a body on a humvee while working there. Eighteen years later, now 62 years old, Chidboy got hurt at work and decided that 62 seemed a little old to be climbing around on big trucks. Still, he says that his work in civil service was important — some vets come home and don’t know what to do with themselves, he said. Chidboy did.
Now he spends his time working on cars and being a DJ, which he does quite often, and in a number of venues, including Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8755 one Friday monthly. Pointing to a chair in the Copperas Cove VFW post, Chidboy says that he landed there in 1978 and became a DJ almost immediately, and he still runs his operation there on a regular basis, intermittently singing Merle Haggard songs until people pay him to stop, he says with a laugh.
But there are many other venues as well — other VFW posts, area clubs, wherever he can be heard. At 70 years, he doesn’t feel his age, in part because he’s a DJ. It takes 23 loads from the van for Chidboy to set up all his equipment, which is decidedly old-school, including a tape deck and dual CD changer, in addition to turntables.
“If I wasn’t doing this (working as a DJ), I probably wouldn’t be here,” he says.
With Veterans Day only a few days away, Chidboy says too many people forget the holiday. Instead, people should spend the day “celebrating the vets that aren’t with us any more.”
Contact Jon Schroeder at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (254) 547-0428