During a military recognition event sponsored by Cornerstone Hospice, retired U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Cole Panning (right) congratulates Spring Hills Hunter’s Creek resident Bill Locey, 89, a U.S. Army World War II veteran. Locey also is congratulated by Megan Coke, director of recreation services at Spring Hill.
Dressed in his U.S. Air Force uniform, Chief Master Sgt. Cole Panning was more than happy to lend a hand pinning honor pins to lapels and awarding certificates of appreciation to the 21 World War II veterans who attended the Cornerstone Salutes military recognition event sponsored by Cornerstone Hospice. Twenty-nine deceased veterans also were recognized with posthumous awards, and red carnations and certificates were presented to their widows.
“All of us here today are indebted to these aging men and women for their sacrifice in keeping us free.”
Cornerstone Salutes was established more than one year ago by Cornerstone Hospice. It falls under Department of Veteran Affairs guidelines and is recognized by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s We Honor Veterans program.
Attendees sported red, white and blue for the event, which was held Fourth of July weekend at Spring Hills Hunter’s Creek assisted-living facility. The proceedings were enhanced by the pomp and circumstance of the presentation of colors by American Legion Post No. 286, whose members presented the flags of the U.S., Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. John Leavitt, commander of Post No. 286, thanked the veterans for their service.“We always take pride in performing these ceremonies all year-round, but when here today, we see not only 21 of you, but also the widows of 29 of our fallen brothers,” he said. “Our hearts and our salutes go to you.”Additional speakers addressed the large crowd.“We are privileged to render this tribute to all of you, and we appreciate the cooperation between hospice and Spring Hills Hunter’s Creek, which has made possible this recognition on such an important weekend as the Fourth of July,” said Cindi Harris-Panning, R.N., Cornerstone Hospice executive director for Orange and Osceola counties.“This activity has touched all our hearts,” said Megan Coke, director of recreational services at Spring Hills. “These veterans are our residents, but it is so rewarding to see the effort by staff of Cornerstone Hospice and so impressive to see this Honor Guard render this tribute, which has been so long overdue for our veteran residents.”U.S. Army veteran David Alex, hospice clinical liaison, also addressed the audience and assisted with pins and certificates. Bugler Clayton Johnsen, retired Air Force, played taps at the conclusion of the proceedings.Details for the military recognition were coordinated largely by Cornerstone Hospice staff members, including Ann Harr, R.N., regional team manager for Orange and Osceola counties; Lou Acuff, R.N., clinical liaison manager; Jan Russell, facilities coordinator; and clinical liaisons Mindy Velez, R.N., and David Alex Newsom.The following veterans, who reside at Spring Hills Hunter’s Creek, were recognized during the ceremony: Louis Berry, Army; John “Bo” Bozick, Navy; Charles Brown, Air Force; Bill Browne, Army; Greg Burke, Marine Corps and volunteer for Spring Hills Hunter’s Creek; Ernest Carr, Navy Seabees; Robert Cassity, Army Air Forces; Sy Corwin, Army; Dominic DiGennaro, Army Air Corps; George DuBois, Army; Tom Franklin, Air Force; Joe Johnson, Army; Joe Langevin, Navy; Bill Locey, Army; Annello Pepe, Army; Bob Price, Navy; Cesar Quinones, Army; Morey Shepard, Army; Irv Silber, Navy; Don Sproat, Navy; Walter Turner, Navy and Merchant Marine; Daniel Vaniska, Navy; and Dan Weinberger, Army.Posthumous award certificates were presented to the following widows of deceased soldiers: Rose Abounader (Marion Abounader, Army); Cora Badia (Manuel Badia, Army); Emily Becker (Donald Becker, Army); Florence “Fletch” Bossert (Alfred Bossert, Navy); Elizabeth Christy (Warner Christy, Air Force); Bobbie Compton (Robert Compton, Army); Rita Czujak (Richard Czujak, Army); Thelma Day (William Day, Navy); Mary Durham (James Durham, Air Force); Rose Evans (David Evans, Navy); Mary Kirkman (Jack Kirkman, Navy); Margaret McGowan (Liston P. McGowan, Army); Suzanne Merzlak (Dudley Merzlak, Army); Margaret Montgomery (Donald Montgomery, Coast Guard); Pauline Murray (Robert Murray, Navy); Charlotte Nyberg (Bert Nyberg, Army); Lucille O’Brien (William O’Brien, Air Force); Ruth Rardin (James Rardin, Coast Guard); Rita Rodman (Albert Rodman, Army); Margaret Ruby (Charles Ruby, Army); Gisela Sabol (John Sabol, Army); Mary Schwartzman (Robert Schwartzman, Navy); Judith Simon (Daniel Simon, Army); Betty Tyner (Donald Tyner, Army); Angela Weisheyer (James “Bud” Weisheyer, Air Force); Catherine Wilson (Jack Wilson, Air Force); and Marion Wolfe (James Wolfe, Marine Corps).
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