One lake area man began his dream career after serving in the United States Army. John Kelsey, owner of Kelsey Tire, invested his earnings from the service into the antique tire business after serving two years of active duty in the 1960s.
"You might say the rest is history," Kelsey said of his investment.
Before Kelsey Tire became a reality, Kelsey moved to the lake area with his family in 1953 when he was in the fourth grade. His parents were in the antique automobile museum business which started Kelsey's love for antique automobiles.
Kelsey graduated from Camdenton High School and went on to the University of Missouri. After graduating from MU, Kelsey practiced accounting for about a year in St. Louis. Then came the draft.
In Oct. 1967, Kelsey was the number one draft pick for Camden County. At the time, the average age of a soldier was 19. Kelsey found himself as the oldest man in his company most of the time. He celebrated his 24th birthday and came days away from celebrating his 25th while serving in Vietnam.
"You come back with a more driven mindset with regards to making the rest of your days count as much as possible," Kelsey said of his time in the Army.
When returning from the war, Kelsey came back to his roots and made his home. Kelsey Tire has been in business for almost 45 years and is still going strong.
During his time in the service, Kelsey was awarded a Gold Star and an Army Commendation Medal.