To date, over 972 Vets/Caregivers/Volunteers have taken this trip with us over the past five years (nine trips) to see these Memorials. If you are a WWII or Korean War or Vietnam/Vietnam Era Vet in Shelby County (Ohio), contact us to see how you too can join us on the "Honor Bus."

Thursday, June 26, 2014

We lost a really, really good one...

JAMES DALE BARTON, 86 passed away on Thursday, June 19, 2014 at 4:15 pm in the comfort of his home.  Jim, as he was known was born in Frenchtown, Ohio on January 24, 1928 to the late Albert and Florence (Barga) Barton.  He was married to Wanetta Gibbs, who preceded him in death on April 14, 1984.  Jim was preceded in death by two step-daughters; Mary Lou Supinger and Ruth VanFossen.  Also preceding him in death were three brothers:  Donald Barton, Jerome Barton and Marion Barton who was killed during the invasion of Africa at the age of 22.  It was 2 years before the body of Marion ever came back to Bradford via a train.  He is survived by eight stepgrandchildren, and numerous great-stepgrandchildren.

Jim grew up on a farm in the Frenchtown/Versailles community and the family moved to Bradford, Ohio when he was in the 4th grade.  During his high school years, he worked at the local movie theatre running a projector, popping popcorn and cleaning up after the movies.  He ultimately graduated from Bradford High School in the year 1946.  Jim most recently attended his class reunion on Saturday, May 27, 2014 which was held at the newly built Bradford High School.  Upon graduation, many or most of his classmates went on a class trip but Jim chose to join the U.S. Army and so he left for basic training 2 weeks after graduating from high school.  He was stationed in the Philippines during World War II.

Upon completion of his military stint, there were no jobs in Bradford, and very, very few in other local cities so he accepted a job at the Westerville Creamery in Bradford at the rate of $.55 an hour.  He worked in the factory processing canned milk.  After a period of time, he started driving a truck for the Westerville Creamery delivering canned milk.  This is how he got his start as a truck driver and was employed at Sidney Truck & Storage for 30 years before retiring from truck driving.

Upon his retirement, he found it necessary to become employed once again so he obtained a position with Jim Brown Chevrolet in Sidney.  After that, Jim was also employed by Dan Hemm Car Dealership in Sidney.  He enjoyed gardening and cared for his many plants and especially his roses on a daily basis.  He also liked to raise the Celosia or Cockscomb plants which grew to giant sizes.

He followed a daily routine, and that was of getting up early and going to Clancy's for toast and coffee, every morning at 7:00 am.  Then he would come home and do his yard work, as he would say.  Jim led a simple life with no television but enjoyed listening to the Cincinnati Reds on the radio.  He would sit on his swing on his front porch and appreciate the finer things in life, such as the blue sky, the green grass and all of his flowers.  He became acquainted with the next door neighbors dogs i.e. two labs:   Lily (black lab) and Pinky (yellow lab).  He would go to the neighbors on a more than once daily basis to see these 4-legged friends and during the summer months, they had their routine... they would sit together by the fence, looking toward Jim's back door and then bark.  Once he heard them bark for a treat, he would exit his back door with a treat for them… they had an adoration one for the other - Jim for them and they for Jim.

Jim liked attending the fairs and entering his roses in the hopes of obtaining a blue ribbon which he did on multiple occasions.  He always liked to stop by the ice cream parlor and have some strawberry ice cream, his favorite.

In addition, being the dedicated veteran that he was, he had gone 9 times on the Vets to Washington, D.C. trip once as a veteran and 8 times as a caregiver.    He would return from each trip with a camera full of pictures and stories from individuals that he had met along the way.  He had plans of going on the trip in September, 2014 and was readying himself to do so.  He is a strong proponent of our military community.  Thank you Jim Barton for your service.

Always do more than is required of you! 
(This was one of Jim's standards for anything that had to do with the Vets to DC group and Vets in general.  He told this to all newcomers to the committee and then led be example.)


Monday, June 16, 2014

Committee meets to discuss 2014 trip...

It may only be early June, but the Vets to DC committee is down under 100 days until the next trip and lots of things have to be wrapped up.

Shown below, some of the committee members talk about such things as shirt orders, finalizing all of the reservations for rooms, meals, the Tram at Arlington, etc., etc., etc.  They also discussed Vet lists and tentatively set the trip limit at 107 people total.  That could be just a bit above the past trip limits, but there could also be some cancellations between now and the trip.

Every meeting starts with a prayer and the Pledge.

This is quite a group, representing a broad stroke of the community, all with one goal in mind -- get as many eligible Vets as possible to Washington to see their Memorials before it is too late.

One other thing the group discussed at this meeting is the fact that since this will be Trip #10, we should do something to celebrate all of our hard work.  So the group is planning a carry-in picnic dinner for all volunteers, past and present to be held August 1 at Tawawa Park.  We will be compiling an email list of all who have helped and will be trying to contact everyone and get them to put this date on their calendars.  More information will be coming out, so stay tuned.

One characteristic of these meetings is that Mike and Jim somehow always bring up things for the group to think about...whether they want to or not :-)
 Trip acceptance letters for the September trip will be going out soon for those who already have their applications in, and more information about the picnic will be forthcoming.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

D-Day celebration aids Vets to DC cause...

The 70th anniversary of D-Day 1944 was celebrated in Sidney this past Friday at the Senior Center with a gathering of 4 local WWII Vets who served on that day, as well as many other Veterans, their families and a large contingent of Sidney and Shelby County citizens.  The event, proposed by the Ladies Auxiliaries of the VFW and American Legion, and Kris Nuss (former Sidney resident who now works for WXIX-TV in Cincinnati) was hosted by the Shelby County Historical Society and featured a panel discussion by Bill Deam (flew some of his 63 missions in the B-26s on D-Day) and John Phillips (US Navy serving as the chief decoder aboard the USS Texas off the coast of France).
 Although not part of the panel, Tony Barga (US Army) and Don Reid (US Navy) also talked of their time with members of the audience.

Committee member Duane Mullin (also chaplain of the VFW Post 4239, shown as he prepares the microphone on left) gave the invocation for the evening.

The evening's musical
ment was
by the Swing Era Band, and food was provided by the Sidney Care Center and the Pavilion.  Several committee members from the Vets to DC committee set up the numerous flags around the Center and assisted in set-up and tear-down of the tables and chairs.

The ladies of the VFW Auxiliary took charge of the 50-50 raffle and the door prize raffles.

Shown here with Sheila Nuss (L) and Tilda Phllipot (R) are the 4 honored guests of the evening.  From left to right are Don Reid, Bill Deam, John Phillips, and Tony Barga.
Just to give you an idea of the crowd, here are some shots of them.
While this was a celebration for the living, there was also a moment of remembrance for the missing and killed from the war.  A traditional POW/MIA ceremony was held and an Absent Comrades table was set up.
And then, the musical entertainment of the evening, which was provided by the Swing Era Band.
All in all, it was a great evening, and a wonderful time of tribute to not only those Veterans in attendance, but also to those missing or dead who fought to give us all the freedoms we enjoy today.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Vets Trip #9 was a HUGE success...

This past weekend, 111 Vets, Caregivers and Volunteers, media and drivers all went to Washington to honor the Vets at their memorials.  With one WWII Veteran, one Korean War Veteran, and 43 Vietnam/Vietnam era Veterans on board, we made our way to DC for the trip of a lifetime which was highlighted by the laying of a wreath at the Tombs of the Unknown Soldiers and ceremonies at the Vietnam Wall.

We will have many stories to publish and links to many, many pictures of the trip -- from send-off to welcome home.  Stay tuned.  In the meantime, here are just a few pictures from the day.  Enjoy and stay tuned.

Dennis Thatcher (L) and Art Muhlenkamp (C) accompany Sgt. McGuire (R) of the Old Guard as they prepare to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers.
Marine Team picture at the Iwo Jima Memorial: (l-r) Jack Curl, Ted Levering, Dean Long, Del Bickel, John Griewe, Ron Frances, Ralph Kunk, Ken Mescher, and Darrell Spangler.
Team picture at the Vietnam Wall ceremony.
Placing a flag (courtesy of the Sidney High School FCCLA) at the Wall are Craig Miller (l) and Denny Brown (r).

Placing a wreath at the Ohio pillar at the WWII Memorial are (l-r) Jim Hall, Eric Hall, Maclin Hall (WWII Veteran), and Larry Hall.
The Air Force Team Picture (l-r); Art Muhlenkamp, Rich Wade, Duane Mullen, Jim Hall, Ken Replogle, Bud Sanders, Tom Johnson, Dean Morrow, and Paul Snider.
Group picture at the Buckeye Lake rest stop on Sunday.
Jim Barton (r - leaning over) helping with the Vets' luggage at the return home ceremony.

Monday, September 9, 2013

A gathering of heroes...

This past week, we had the pleasure and honor of helping an old friend with his Army reunion.  Weldon Oakley is a member of the 58th Engineer Company (Treadway Bridge Company) which fought at the Chosin Reservoir in Korea.  This was a really big deal in terms of the Korean War and these guys were right in the thick of it.  If you would like more info on their unit, mission, and some of the things they went through, check out this web site (Chosin Reservoir ).

Weldon was hosting this reunion and we thought maybe our Vets to DC committee could be of assistance. The group was rather large at one time, but they are down to just a handful that are able to travel.  In fact, there were only 6 members (below) left to attend the Sidney reunion. There is still a "buddie" in Kentucky, but he is not able to travel so they will try to see him next year for the get together.

The remaining members of the 58th Engineer Co. (Treadway Bridge Co.) attending the 2013 reunion.
This is the team picture of the Vets and their guests.
Our group played a small part in making their reunion a success.  We attended their get together on Wednesday evening, Sept. 4 at the Hampton Inn located in Sidney and presented each of the Vets with a hand carved wooden cane, courtesy of the Shelby County Wood Carvers Association.  This is the same cane we have presented to each of the Vets who travel with us to DC.  We also presented them with a copy of the book, Forgotten No More, "The Korean War Veterans Memorial Story" by Carol Highsmith and Ted Landphair., a couple of Korean War and U.S. Army pins for their hats, and a bookmark for the book.

We also supplied drivers for the group for their Thursday tour of the local area.  They toured the Airstream plant in Jackson Center and the Neil Armstrong Air and Space Museum in Wapakonetta.  We also drove them to dinner at the Cracker Barrel in Piqua for a leisure dinner.

It was an honor for our members to assist and help these heroes get together again.

The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.  G.K. Chesterton


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Vets to DC at the Sidney Applefest

The Vets to DC committee had a booth at the Applefest weekend in Sidney this past weekend.  They gave out info on the upcoming trip (Trip #9, Sept. 20-22), sold tickets for the Canoe and the hog raffles, and had a display of photos of all the Vets who have been on our past trips.

The canoe raffle winning ticket was drawn, and Dick Wilgus of DeGraff was the winner.  The hog raffle winner was being notified and I will update this when I get the name.

Thanks go to all who supported these fund raising events.  We will have a financial report presented by chairman Gus at the next meeting, September 12th.

Vets and caregivers who have been notified that they are taking part in this upcoming trip are reminded they need to plan to attend the pre-departure dinner September 16.  The social time begins at 5:30 followed by dinner at 6:00.  The dinner is held at the Sidney, Ohio VFW Post 4239, locatged at the intersection of I-75 and State Route 25-A.   Just look for the tank!  Volunteers are reminded to be at the VFW by 5:00.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Two other upcoming Fundraisers for VETS to DC...

Here are some other fundraisers sponsored by the VETS to DC Committee:

1.  HOG RAFFLE.  The Committee is selling tickets for a hog raffle.  This is a whole hog, processed any way you wish (packaged, whole hog for a BBQ, or however you want).  The club is also paying for the processing.

Tickets are $1.00 each or 6 for $5.00.  They are available from any committee member or at the Farmer's Market on Saturday Mornings.  The drawing will be done at the Applefest along with the canoe drawing (see article below).  Winner will be notified.

2. GOLF SCRAMBLE.   The Watercutter Family is sponsoring the 4th Watercutter Memorial Golf Scramble on Saturday, July 20th at the Arrowhead Golf Course in Minster, Ohio.  This will be a 1:00 p.m. shotgun start.  Good fun, food and lots of door prizes will mark this 18 hole, 4-person scramble.  

Get a team together and call the Pro shop at Arrowhead (419-628-3111) to get registered.  Don't have a team ?? just call the Pro shop and they will take your name and try to get you fixed up.

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, 
nothing is going to get better.  It's not.  (Dr. Seuss)