To date, 889 Vets/Caregivers/Volunteers have taken this trip with us over the past five years (ten 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."

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Even more getting ready...

In case you were wondering how all the stuff the Veterans get on departure day gets there, I took a couple of pictures of my house a few days before the trip -- just to show you what goes on behind the scenes.  These were shot in one of our guest rooms.  Fortunately we were not having guests over at the time.

Pam is in the background helping me work through the "assembly line."  The packets on the far wall are finished and ready to go.  The others are still being checked for completeness.


It gets to be quite a busy place for a short time, but it all works out and is really worth it.

By the way, this "assembly line" wasn't confined to just this room.  It went around the room, on the beds, and down the hall.  Had 46 Vet packets at one time.  We did, however, have some drop out of the trip, and we save the packet just in case they come back for the next trip.  That way, we only have to update a few things and they are ready to go.

It may look hectic, but it really isn't.  The key is organization, and having done it several times before.

Hooah

Getting ready for the trip...

We have had about 40 wheel chairs on hand which we use for the last 5-6 trips courtesy of Apria Home Health Care who donated them for our use on these trips to DC.  They have come in real handy on many of the trips.  It seems everyone starts out on Saturday morning full of vim and vigor, but during the ceremony at The Wall, some of them start to fade and they think the wheel chairs will allow them to get through the day.  Lots of replaced knees, bad hips, bad lungs, and so on.  And sometimes, these come in handy just so they will have a place to sit -- lots of tourists there in the same areas and the benches get taken.

Well this year, we were able to offer three of the Vets who were in the most need of them the use of a motorized scooter for the day.  They sure took advantage of them, zooming here and there.  We had one scooter last year, but were able to come up with three this year due to the generosity of the Dayton VA and Mr. Jim Fortune who donated two of them, and the Winner family, who donated one that their mother had before she passed.  These scooters are ours now to be used on future trips.  They really helped the day go much smoother for the guys.

We had these chairs stored for about a month and needed to keep them charged and in working order.  Well, part of that includes taking them out for a spin every once in a while to put a load on the battery and then recharge them.  In order to do this, I would take each chair out for about a 25 minute spin around the Shelby County Fairgrounds.  Oh, and by the way, in the last sentence I didn't really mean "put a load on them".  I am still in my fighting weight!!  And I am sure some of the folks in the Ag. Center building got a kick out of seeing me zipping around the grounds in these chairs.

It's kinda hard taking a selfie while driving.  Probably some sort of law against this, even if it is shot while test driving a scooter chair.

I managed to get all three of them exercised 4 times each in the two weeks just before the trip.  In fact, Pam even helped me one day.  At least all of them worked and the batteries held up just fine for the whole trip.

Thanks go out to Jim Fortune and to the Winner Family.  Thank you for your support of this trip for our Veterans.

Hooah

Monday, September 22, 2014

Trip #10 now in the books...

The tenth trip to Washington DC for Shelby County and area Veterans has now been completed.  In all, 102 people (3 Korean War Veterans, 40 Vietnam/Vietnam-Era Veterans, 27 caregivers, and  2 drivers, 1 SDN representative, and 29 volunteers) made the trip to DC September 19-21.

The weather was great, the food was fantastic and plentiful, and the Monuments -- well, they were outstanding and the Vets who were seeing them for the first time were humbled and honored at the same time.

There were many stories that were shared -- some made us laugh and some made us cry.  But the Vets went there and conquered their fears, gave up some baggage and made a few new friends who knew what it was that they had gone thru.
There will be lots of pictures to see when we get them processed.  Look for the link to enjoy them.  You can also read the stories written by Patti Speelman of the Sidney Daily News by clicking on this link to their web site.News article on Vet Trip.

All those who took the trip are reminded to plan for the Post-trip Dinner scheduled for Monday, October    27.  The social time will begin at 5:30 with dinner to follow at 6:00.

Applications for the 2015 trip (September 18-20, 2015), Trip #11, will be posted on this web site around the first of the year, and will be available at various locations throughout the county about that time too.

Hooah

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.)

Hooah

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
entertain-
ment was
provided
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.

Hooah
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.