The 40-plus Korean War and Vietnam Era veterans traveling in May to Washington, DC, recently held a Meet & Greet with the growing number of area businesses and organizations who have generously signed on to sponsor the trip. The tour is being organized by Greater Lynn Senior Services (GLSS) with help from the Lynn Council on Aging and local veterans’ organizations and advocates. “Many of our veterans have never been to Washington, DC, to see the war memorials, monuments, and other sites in which we, as Americans, feel so much pride,” said Paul T. Crowley, GLSS’ Chief Executive Officer. “For many, it will be the trip of a lifetime.”
The excursion is being planned by an Organizing Committee that includes Saugus resident Dennis Gould, a Vietnam-Era veteran and Chairman of the 2015 North Shore Veterans’ Appreciation Parade; Paul Crowley, Ken Halkin, Marilyn Long, Stacey Minchello, and Maureen Teal from GLSS; and Saugus resident and veteran Dave Nelson. This trip follows the highly successful tour organized by the group in 2015 for World War II veterans. “The 2015 trip was transformational for everyone involved and was made possible by the generosity of many,” Crowley noted. “Almost as soon as we returned, we began talking about and planning this trip.”
Donors to date include DiVirgilio Financial Group, Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation, General Electric, GLSS, and Wheelabrator Technologies at the “Congressional Medal of Honor” level ($5,000+); A. James Lynch Insurance (in memory of A. James Lynch, WWII U.S. Navy veteran), Associated Home Care, and Scangas Realty Trust at the Silver Star Plus level ($2,000+); Dandreo Brothers Construction, East Boston Savings Bank, Meninno Construction Company, National Grid, Old Neighborhood Foods, and Saugus VFW Post 2346 at the Silver Star level ($1,000); and Camp Lion of Lynn, Paul T. Crowley, Thomas Kiley, James F. Marshall (in memory of James Phipps, Sr., WWII U.S. Navy veteran), North Shore Elder Services, Ocean Transportation, RiverWorks Credit Union, Saugus American Legion Post 210, Solimine Funeral Homes, and an Anonymous donation (remembering classmates who served, with love and respect) at the Sponsor-A-Veteran level ($500). Generous donations have also been received from other organizations and local residents. Information about sponsorship opportunities can be found at www.glss.net.
The trip, which will take place May 19-22, includes a wreath-laying ceremony at the Vietnam Memorial, visits to the Korean Veterans War Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery, as well as other memorials and historic sites. “Many veterans stated that they wanted to be part of the trip to hopefully achieve a sense of closure, to honor their own and the service of many who did not come home, and to just simply be with and experience this with other veterans,” said Stacey Minchello, Director of the Lynn Senior Center. Veterans will have time to reflect at the various memorials and monuments and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice or fellow veterans who have since passed away. “Obviously, there is a very serious and emotional aspect to participating in something like this, but we also plan to have a lot of fun along the way,” she added.