Local events honor Veterans
Community members gathered in Bolivar Wednesday morning following the annual parade through the small town to honor local Veterans. The Bolivar-Harpers Ferry District Veterans once again hosted the event which included Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and members of the American Heritage Girls along with the Harpers Ferry Middle School band. The town mayors of Bolivar and Harpers Ferry, Helen Detmer and Greg Vaughn, respectively, laid the memorial wreath.
Speaking at the event was former Harpers Ferry principal Joe Spurgas, who served in the Army from 1970 to 1972.
Spurgas called his message a message of caring to the community, the country, the school and the family.
“Veterans care,” he said. “It’s especially evident here with the new memorial placed on the school grounds,” he said, referencing a memorial dedicated last spring. He went on to name several local veterans in Harpers Ferry who passed away over the last year, but who had cared so deeply for their community. Specifically Spurgas named Harry Biller, Paul Ranalli and Dixie Wiltshire, men who spent significant time with the students at the middle school where Wednesday’s ceremony was held.
“Whether it was with a piece of candy, a smile or a hug, they showed they cared,” Spurgas said. “Whether it was donating flags to the school, the new memorial, donations to the local fire department, they showed they cared.”
Doug Craze, commander of the Bolivar Haprers Ferry District Veterans urged attendees to reach out and help local veterans. He shared that 8,030 veterans commit suicide each year. An organization known as 22 until None has been formed to help address the issue. The break down of the numbers shows 22 suicides per day in this country taking the lives of veterans.
“Donations are needed,” Craze stressed. “Whether it be in dollars, household goods or food items, find out how you can help.” The website for the organization is www.22untilnone.org.
Harpers Ferry’s veterans traveled to Charles Town following their event to serve as honor guard at the Veteran’s Memorial at Jefferson Memorial Park. Wreaths were laid at this ceremony by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3522 and Auxiliary, American Legion Post 71 and Auxiliary, Daughters of the American Revolution, Beeline Chapter and the Jefferson Air Force JROTC
Guest speaker Theo Chambers, USN-Retired, from Inwood addressed a crowd of over 100 people expounding on the bravery and good work by the three American soldiers in Paris who thwarted a terrorist attack on a trail earlier this fall.
Chambers spoke of the good work done by the American Legion with regard to veteran support and urged support of that organization whether it be legislatively or locally.
“There is a high cost of being a veteran,” he said. “A high cost of blood, sweat and sacrifice to protect the greatest nation on earth,” he continued. Placing restrictions on financially taking care of veterans is not someplace where funding cuts should come, Chambers stated.
“That is poor thanks from what should be a grateful nation,” Chambers said with regard to federal moves to cut veteran spending.
Both speakers at the events gave the clear message that thanking a veteran is one of the most important things anyone can do. They encouraged that thanks.
“If you see a vet, thank a vet,” Craze concluded. “Not just today but everyday.”