Few people have seen as much of the world as 90-year-old World War II veteran Wallace P. "Wally" Cash.

Few people have seen as much of the world as 90-year-old World War II veteran Wallace P. "Wally" Cash.

But, Cash said, he and his wife of 36 years, Barbara, 72, share interests in patriotism, public service, world travel -- and Hilliard as their chosen home for much of their lives.

"We've watched Hilliard grow and there's nowhere else I'd rather call home," Cash said.

Cash, who enlisted in the U.S. Navy at 17 and had to take the required coursework for his high school diploma after he joined the ranks, also has roots a few miles east of Hilliard.

"My parents had to sign for me and they were a little reluctant because I was dropping out of (Grandview Heights High School)," he said. "There were classes I could take (while enlisted) for the credit I needed. ... My sister had my diploma waiting for me when I finished (active duty in 1946)."

Cash was to graduate from Grandview Heights in 1943 but instead has a diploma that places him in the school's graduating class of 1946.

"But no one (from the class of 1946) remembers me because I didn't go to school with them."

Cash said he was stationed mostly in Guam during the latter stages of World War II.

"The base was the biggest west of Pearl Harbor," Cash said.

Cash said he learned he was prone to seasickness after enlistment and was able to limit his exposure to sea swells by signing up for sonar school.

In addition to working with sonar equipment, Cash also worked in electronic supplies.

"We worked repairing anything on a ship, from the radio to the hull."

He said that included dry docking the USS Pittsburgh and building a new bow on the cruiser, which was damaged in a typhoon.

Cash recalled learning that World War II had ended when Japan surrendered following the bombing of Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945, the second use of the atomic bomb by Allied forces.

"The mess hall officer said, 'Get out the steaks,' (and) we ate well that day," Cash said.

News did not reach the rest of Guam as quickly.

"The Japanese on the island didn't believe (Japan) had surrendered," Cash said.

He recounted a variety of ways in which Japanese soldiers eventually learned the news.

"One of them found an issue of Life magazine that had been thrown out and read about it," Cash said.

Japanese soldiers carrying white flags occasionally appeared as American soldiers walked to or from latrines, he said.

"They figured we wouldn't be carrying a gun to the bathroom so we couldn't shoot them," he said.

Many knew how to speak English, said Cash, who developed a rapport with some of the Japanese soldiers detained at the base in the latter part of 1945.

"One of the soldiers drew pictures with colored pencils of mountains, or a geisha, things from his village, I guess (and) I'd give him a dollar for some of the drawings," Cash said.

Upon returning, Cash joined the U.S. Navy Reserve, serving until his retirement in 1985 as a master chief petty officer.

As a civilian, Cash owned and operated Cash Photo Studios, shooting weddings and senior portraits, and his jobs included working at Columbus Metropolitan Area Community Action Organization, or CMACAO, a government-based agency that addresses poverty.

He met his wife, Barbara, while both worked at CMACAO.

Barbara's history of public service includes assistant director of the Ohio Department of Aging and director of the Franklin County Board of Elections. She ran an unsuccessful campaign for Hilliard mayor in 1999.

Barbara also is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, serving from 1978 to 2003, including a turn in Operation Desert Storm in 1990, and retiring as a chief petty officer.

The Cashes operated the Hilliard Food Pantry, now the Hilliard Community Assistance Council, for 18 years, and both remain active in the Hilliard Kiwanis Club and the Hilliard Ohio Historical Society.

They also are well-traveled, having visited all 50 states and 38 countries in Europe and South America.

"But Hilliard has everything we need here," Barbara Cash said.