Veterans are served at Greencastle American Legion grounds

JOYCE F. NOWELL, Echo Pilot
A group of veterans from the Martinsburg VA Hospital in West Virginia made the bus trip to Greencastle for the fifth annual Veterans Appreciation Day presented by a four-county district and hosted this year by the Greencastle American Legion Post 373 at its picnic grounds by the Conococheague Creek.

The Greencastle Post 373 American Legion grounds along the Conococheague Creek provides a perfect venue for many things and was quite appropriate earlier this month for a regional event in honor of veterans.

For the fifth straight year the 22nd District Sons of the American Legion has conducted a Veterans Appreciation Day. In 2016 the Greencastle post was the host and produced the biggest response.

“This is our fifth year and this is our largest turnout,” remarked Kenneth Warner, National Executive Committeeman for Sons of the American Legion Detachment of Pennsylvania.

“We try to get all the homes from this four-county district to bring the veterans and this year Martinsburg VA Hospital did send a bus to us. We appreciate that very much.”

In addition to the vets from Martinsburg, others from the area who have served their country were in attendance at the event where the posting of the colors was held, an opening ceremony and several guest speakers. Music and a meal added flavor to the event.

We serve

Seven years ago the Sons of the American Legion national organization wrote a resolution to have “Support Your Veterans Day”. The date of May 16 was set nationally, however the 22nd District, comprised of Franklin, Fulton, Adams and York counties, chooses also to have a special group activity in June.

“They ask all of the squadrons and members to take a day and do something for a veterans,” explained Warner. “Take them for a cup of coffee, change the oil in the car, cut the grass; do a  service for a veteran at least that one day a year.

“The Appreciation Day is what we do as a district. We had well over 100 people today.”

Daryl Gearhart of Mercersburg Post 517 was also pleased with the event, “This is the best turnout we’ve had in five years. It was fantastic. It was just great. I loved it. I hope all the veterans had a good time. It was very good.”

Max Izer of Greencastle, who now resides at Menno Haven in Chambersburg, served during World War II. He made the trip to the Legion grounds for the event. He appreciates the outreach to veterans.

“The consideration to veterans seems to be growing,” Izer assessed. “It brings back memories and associations. It’s rewarding.

“I enjoyed it very much. It was remarkable. The Legion did a fine job sponsoring the program. I admire them for the effort they put forth. I’m grateful and thankful for the remembrance we receive.”

Because they served

Organizers were particularly pleased that veterans from the Martinsburg VA Center attended.

Warner said, “We’ve been trying to get them here in earlier years and this time it happened. A lot of veterans from this area go to Martinsburg VA Hospital instead of Lebanon.”

“It allows them to get out of the home,” said Gearhart. “They can enjoy themselves and have some camaraderie. Just to smile; I watched a veteran watch the big trucks move and the smile it put on his face was just fantastic to see that. It’s worth all the work.

“I thought it was absolutely great. I know the veterans enjoyed it. We were here to say thank you for their service.”

As the bus returning to the Martinsburg VA Center left the Legion grounds, Warner was pleased with the day.

“I think they are very thankful that we take our time to do this. It’s our way of showing them that we care what you did for us. It was your service that allowed us to be able to do this today.”