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Special salute: Never forgetting those who served

At top is Cadet Lucas Zielinski. Pictured from left, above, are: C/SrA Stephen Przybyl, C/SMSgt Rebecca Banach, C/SrA Benjamin LaGrow, C/SrA Sebastian Pencek, C/Amn Lucas Zielinski, C/SrA William Przybyl, C/SSgt Bernadette Banach. Missing from photo: C/1st Lt Calvin Przybysz.

Special to the OBSERVER

The Dunkirk Composite Squadron of Civil Air Patrol participated in Wreaths Across America for the third year at Forest Hill Cemetery. The service started exactly at noon Dec. 14 as the local church bells sounded.

More than 1,400 locations across 50 states simultaneously participate to ensure that veterans laid to rest are honored on National Wreaths Across America Day. The goal: to place a balsam fir wreath at the headstone of Veterans buried there and spread patriotism and commemoration for the ultimate sacrifices they made for our country.

Seven remembrance wreaths were laid to honor and remember all who served and are serving each arm of the Military including: The U.S. Army – Robert Grace; U.S. Marine Corps – Salvatore P. Favata Jr.; U.S. Navy – Dr. Kang Soo Kim; U.S. Air Force – Philip Arcoraci; U.S. Coast Guard – Robert N. Anderson; U.S. Merchant Marines – Phillip F. Ellian and U.S. POW’s/MlA’s – Carl Loiocano.

The service ended with the Dunkirk Joint Veterans Council, with Honor Guard Commander, Richard Makuch presenting the gun volley and “Taps.”

The public was welcome to attend the service and witness the laying of the wreaths.

As each cadet lays the wreath, the salute is held for 21 seconds to represent a 21-gun salute.

The following veterans were also honored this year during the ceremony: Alice Sam – US Air Force – Vietnam; Susan Sam – US Navy – WW2; Harold A. Richardson – US Navy – WW2; Daniel J. Cain – US Navy – WW2; Leftheris N. Kourelis – US Army; Richard R. Proper – US Army Air Forces – WW2; David J. Bleck – US Army – WW2; Mike A. Sam – US Army – WW2; Russell A. Catalano – US Navy – WW2; Robert A Erickson – World War veteran plaque; Marilyn E. Mahany – gold plaque with cross, no service listed; Donald E. Blodgett – US Army Air Forces – WW2; Frank M. Jefferson (Tec 5 400 AAA AW BN CAC) – WW2; William E. Locke SR – US Air Force – Korea; Joseph L. Anderson – US Navy -WW2; Reuel Otto Proper – CO H 56 Pioneer INF – WW1; Earl J. Sardeson – US Army – WW1; Leo Quackenbush – American Legion plaque; John (Minnie) O’Connell – American Legion plaque; Huntly (No first name) — American Legion plaque; Forest Ray Delong JR – US Air Force; Leslie R. (Margaret A.) Gregory – American Legion Plaque; Bertel H. Carlson – American Legion plaque; Edward (Mary) Carr – American Legion plaque; Edward M. Orcutt – US Army – WW2; Lucien Schoener – IAFF member plaque; Carl E. Peterson – US Navy; Canfeild (no first name) – American Legion Plaque; John A. Parker – US Army – WW1 (group of 3 stones wreath was laid in the middle of all 3), other two names were -John A. Parker JR -US Navy – WW2; Adys M. Parker – US Navy – WW1; Pauline Brede – American Legion plaque (other name on the gravestone – Edward); Margarethe Schade – American Legion plaque; Carl E. Nordell – WW1 Veteran plaque; John A. Blodgett – US Army – WW2 – Purple Heart; Carla Ganslow – American Legion plaque; Ward Winship -US Army – WW2; Curtis T. Barber – US Army Air Forces -WW2.

The wreaths come directly from Maine a few days before the designated Saturday. Thanks to A.D. Titus Monuments, more than 50 wreaths were unpacked to fluff up.

Thanks also to Literacy Volunteer Director, Julie LaGrow for heading up the online ordering program.

Many thanks go to Forest Hill Cemetery, especially Ann Renkens, sexton, who helps identify local Veterans to be honored. Thanks also go to all those who purchased a wreath either as a designated veteran or for an honorary veteran.

Wreaths Across America supports Civil Air Patrol with this fund-raiser. Each wreath purchased helps Dunkirk CAP Squadron carry on their programs with a focus on Aerospace with the core values of Integrity, Volunteer Service, Excellence and Respect.

For more information on local Wreaths Across America, feel free to contact 1st Lt. Linda Blodgett, local coordinator at 785-0795.

This is just one event the Dunkirk Civil Air Patrol participates in. For information on joining the Dunkirk Squadron, NY-351, please contact Commander 1st Lt. Robert Przybysz at 536-2111.

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