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Haag shares his life stories

By Staff
RECALLING MEMORIES Wilsford "Skeeter" Haag says he is proud of his long and full life. The 91-year-old recently reminisced about his 24 years as a Meridian police officer. Photo by Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star
By Penny Randall / staff writer
Sept. 21, 2003
Wilsford "Skeeter" Haag used to be a "flatfoot" a police officer who walked a beat for 24 years in Meridian.
Haag said his territory was Tuxedo, down to the Southside and to West End.
About 2 a.m., the chief would pick up Haag and his partner and take them to the No. 2 fire station.
Remember when
When people reach Haag's age, 91, they have stories to tell. Haag is no exception.
Haag and his wife, Eloise, married in 1932. At first, they kept their marriage a secret.
Skeeter and Eloise were married for 64 years when she died in February 1997.
Their son, Wilsford Haag Jr., died last year at age 68. He made a career in the U.S. Army. Wilsford Jr. was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Haag also has a daughter, Julianne, who lives in Jackson, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Police career
Haag's career as a Meridian police officer began in 1937, when he transferred to the city's police department from the street department. He was 25 years old. Haag served on the force until 1942 when he left to take a job with Southern Railroad.
About two months later, Frances called Haag and told him, "You can make as much money in a day on the railroad as you make there in a week."
Haag had a family to support so he left the department.
Railroad man
From 1942-1946, Haag worked as a switcher for Southern Railroad in Meridian.
Working on the south end of the rail yard one day, he saw something he will never forget.
Haag said the engineer yelled, "A man's been run over."
When Haag got to the young man, he was dead, crushed between two trains.
When World War II ended, the railroad started laying off people because of lack of work. Haag was one of them.
Working with children
Haag was given the job of organizing the safety patrol in the city's elementary schools, working with sixth-grade boys.
One of Haag's proudest moments came in the early 1950s when he took 34 of those boys to a safety patrol conference in Washington, D.C.
While in Washington, Haag wanted to treat the boys to a "big league" baseball game.
We're from Meridian
Haag got to the baseball field and told the ticket office that he and the students were visiting from Meridian, Miss., and that the young men were safety patrols.
The response? "It won't cost you a nickel, take them on in."
I gave each boy 50 cents to buy something at that time you could buy a Coke for a nickel," said Haag, who often thinks about those young men and wishes he could get in touch with them.
Haag advanced through the Meridian Police Department, eventually becoming assistant police chief.
Haag is also proud that he helped bring the use of blue flashing lights to police cars in Meridian.
Flashing blue light
After talking with his chief and the city manager, Haag went to then-State Sen. G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery for help.
Haag said the Meridian had the first police department in the state with blinking blue lights on patrol cars.
Since 1982, Haag has suffered from macular degeneration, an eye disease. He is legally blind but said he keeps up with things happening in Meridian.