Hometown Heroes...Newly Formed Senior Veteran Group Finds A Home In Parma
An overflow crowd of Senior Veterans, spouses, and veteran supporters, were present to see the unveiling of the Veterans wall ("Our Wall") and the introduction of a newly formed senior veterans’ meetup group. The Donna Smallwood Activities Center in Parma hosted the event and will be the meeting home for the newly formed “Parma Area Senior Veterans” a meetup group for senior veterans in Parma and surrounding cities and communities.
Smallwood director Erin Lally led off the meeting with the pledge of allegiance followed by Michele Wisniewski of “Voice of Honor” with the singing of the National Anthem. Parma Mayor Timothy DeGeeter was the keynote speaker and talked about the support the city gives to it’s Veterans and how exciting it is to have a group meetup home for our Senior Veterans. Director Lally indicated that there was still openings on the wall for more pictures and any veterans wanting to be represented on the wall need only submit a 5X7 photo (preferably in uniform) with name, branch of service and years of service. The only stipulation is you must be a member of the Smallwood Activity center, membership is only $10.00 per year.
Senior Veterans Group founder and administrator, Tony Kessler (yours truly) gave an overview of the objective of the Senior Veteran Group, stating that many veterans, especially seniors, are seeking the camaraderie of other veterans who have the same experiences and challenges and can relate to each other. The Donna Smallwood Activities Center is the perfect venue for this group. Having fun, socializing, meeting new people is one of the main objectives of the group. Information and education is also a prime benefit of belonging. The group will meet the last Friday of every month and will feature guest speakers each month from various Veterans and senior organizations with benefits and topics relating to the needs of senior benefits. A Facebook page has also been setup as an information source where members can get answers to questions and chat with other members on a daily basis.
Kessler also noted that plans are already in the works to schedule bus excursions to various veteran and military museums attractions and events. The re-enactment of the Normandy Invasion in Conneaut Ohio is one event every veteran should visit, the National Veterans Museum in Columbus, the MAPS air museum in Canton were just a few of the excursions he hopes to schedule in the near future as well as planning a group trip to the National Air Show and getting a group for the Honor flight to Washington DC.
Mission BBQ who is a huge supporter of our first responders and veterans, were present passing out box lunches, Ward 5 Councilman Allan Divis provided a large sheet cake, Jodi Marie from Bread and Beyond furnished pastries, including cookies, a pie and a cake. Also present in support of our veterans was Ward 2 Councilwoman Debbie Lime and Clerk of Council Kristin Saban. The American Legion Auxiliary Unit 572 helped in the setting up and cleaning up and the cutting and serving of the cake. The Staff of the Center did an excellent job in insuring everything went as planned. Overall it was a huge success with many of the attendees already looking forward to the first official meeting which will be on March 31st at 12:30pm at the Smallwood Center.
Group Administrator Tony Kessler: Phone or Text 440-263-0507
Henry "Tony" Kessler
Past Commander of American Legion Post 572 in Parma.
Executive committee Member of "We Are Parma Proud"
Founder and Administrator of "Parma Area Senior Veterans"