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The Lexington Veterans Association, although not officially organized at the time, began with a small group of veterans and Lexington's Executive Chef, Wilson Parker, being concerned that no central American Flag existed at the community. This was late winter of 2000.  Parker suggested a banquet to raise money and the seven veterans plus Parker and his wife, Andrea (Catering & Banquet Manager) went to work.  One month later, enough money was raised to create a Flag & Memorial site at the entrance to the Main Clubhouse.  That was just the start of several patriotic events organized and sponsored by the veterans.  As of December 2001, the now official Lexington Veterans Association, has over 140 dues paying members.  In addition, we hold luncheon meetings every other month which feature some excellent speakers.  To find out more click here Veterans Luncheons. Click on the years below to see the photos and text that document these special events.  

CLICK ON YEAR TO VIEW EVENTS FOR THAT YEAR

2001    2002    2003    2004    2005    2006   2007   2008   2009  2010   2011   2012

 

SPECIAL EVENTS

SAN CARLOS PARK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL HONOR VETERANS EVENT 2012

On Friday, November 9, 2012 several veterans participated in the San Carlos Park Elementary School tribute to veterans.  They were introduced to the several hundred students, treated to breakfast and a patriotic performance by the school chorus, dance and drama groups.  Veterans were escorted to various classrooms where they answered various questions by the students and told them about their various experiences in the military.  Veterans participating were Commander Bernie Gdula, Rich Hill, Ron Ruff, Ken Taylor, Phil Loparo, George Semenek, Bruce Swanson, Don Penner, Ron Hyers and Craig Kleinknight.

PRIDE & PATRIOTISM EVENT 2012

The 9th Annual Pride & Patriotism Event -  Youth Celebrating the Arts and Honoring Our Veterans - at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall on the campus of Edison State College.  Several Lexington Veterans participated in the event that has Lee County youth celebrating the arts with patriotic themes and honoring veterans. It was a Red, White and Blue evening in partnership with the Southwest Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra and Southwest Florida area Veterans Organizations.  School children from K to 12 were awarded medals by the veterans for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in Poetry, Paintings and Mini-Docs by grade levels depicting how veterans have protected our nation.

Lexington Veterans participating this year were Commander Bernie Gdula, Rich Hill, Ken Taylor, Ron Ruff, Jay Burgess, Dick Deters, Ron Hyers, Al Kuznicki, George Semenek, Doug Renfroe, Bruce Swanson and Don Penner.  In addition, the LVA was given the honor of posting the five Military Service flags and Doug Renfroe sang three songs with the Symphony Orchestra including the National Anthem.  Rich Hill served his 6th year on the Pride & Patriotism Planning & Steering Committee.  (Photos by Barb Swanson)

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EDISON POPS CONCERT 2012

The Lexington Color/Honor Guard presented the colors and the five service flags at the prestigious Edison Pops Sunset Concert for the 7th straight year. The group was lead again this year by Honor Guard Captain Rich Hill and included Jay Burgess, Ron Ruff, Al Kuznicki, George Semenek, Commander Bernie Gdula, Don Penner, Len Rubens and Dick Deters.  (Photos by Barb Swanson)
   
     
     

VOICES of NAPLES CONCERT 2012

The Lexington Color/Honor Guard was afforded the honor of performing at the Voices of Naples "Americana" Concert on Sunday, February 26, 2012 in Naples.  The prestigious choir is Directed by Lexington resident and Navy Veteran Dr. Douglas Renfroe.  Renfroe is a nationally acclaimed  Bass/Baritone Soloist and Artistic Choir Director.  A sold out audience of over 600 attended. (Photos by Liz Loparo)

Voices of Naples Choir at United Church of Christ in Naples National Anthem Lexington Color/Honor Guard march out

Dick Deters, Don Penner, Ron Hyers, Al Kuznicki Honor Guard  with Voices of Naples Artistic Director Doug Renfroe Bernie Gdula, Rich Hill, Phil Loparo, Len Rubens, Bud Passini, Jay Burgess

IWO JIMA MEMORIAL RE-DEDICATION CEREMONY 2012

Over a 1000 people attended the Cape Coral Iwo Jima Memorial Re-dedication Ceremony on Saturday, February 25, 2012.  The Marine Corps Color Guard and Rifle Squad from Tampa was the featured unit.  Only four other Color Guards were selected to perform with the Lexington Veterans Association being one of those honored units. Commander Bernie Gdula, Dick Deters, Ron Hyers & WWII Pacific Theater Veteran Al Kuznicki performed.

Marine Corps Color Guard Line up of chosen SW Florida Color Guards Sons of the American Revolution Color Guard followed by the Lexington Veterans Color Guard

Marine Bugler plays Taps Lee County Pipes & Drums lead the march in Tearful Iwo Jima Marine Survivor

SAN CARLOS PARK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL HONOR VETERANS EVENT 2011

On Thursday, November 10, some members of the Lexington Veterans Honor Guard were treated to a special breakfast at the San Carlos Park Elementary School in honor of Veterans Day.  All 850 of their elementary students honored the veterans with a ceremony to raise the colors that day.  Afterwards, the veterans were entertained with skits put on by the students depicting and honoring veterans.   In addition there was personalized artwork thanking veterans for their contribution to their country.  Following the performances, which included singing and dancing by the various school clubs, each veteran was assigned a particular classroom and gratefully participated in questions and answer sessions for the remainder of the event.  The veterans included Commander Bernie Gdula, Rich Hill, Ron Hyers, Phil Loparo, Don Penner, Ron Ruff and George Semenek. 

American flag created by children showing names of all the veterans that attended Commander Bernie Gdula with kids from one of the 5th grade classrooms Close up of same flag showing Bernie's name

PRIDE & PATRIOTISM EVENT 2011

The 8th Annual Pride & Patriotism Event -  Youth Celebrating the Arts and Honoring Our Veterans - at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall on the campus of Edison State College.  This annual outstanding event features Lee County students depicting the role of Veterans through poetry and art work.  The winners from K thru 12 were featured and veterans awarded those student winners medals.  In addition there are several outstanding musical events featuring the 100 member Oasis Charter School Elementary Choir, The SW Florida Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Mariner High School Band and the Cypress Lake Middle School Dance Troop. Students, Veterans, Teachers and the Lee County ROTC combine to make this an unforgettable event.  Twelve Lexington Veterans participated as medal presenters. They were Jay Burgess, Dick Deters, Pete Hackett, Bud Passini, Ron Ruff, George Semenek, Bruce Swanson and Ken Taylor.  The LVA also contributed funds to help support this outstanding event. In addition, the LVA was honored to feature presenting the five Armed Forces Service Flags during the Armed Forces Salute.  Honor Guard Captain Rich Hill directed the presentation and the following LVA Honor Guard members presented and placed the flags - Al Kuznicki, Army; Don Penner, Coast Guard; Ron Hyers, Marine Corps; Phil Loparo, Air Force; Commander Bernie Gdula, Navy.  Rich Hill served his 5th year on the Pride & Patriotism Planning & Steering Committee.

Vice Commander Bruce Swanson with the young student he will be presenting a medal to Teacher of the young student US Marine with the Vietnam Brotherhood joins Bruce in presenting the medal

Southwest Florida Youth Symphony performing This time it is Bruce Swanson's wife, Barb, who congratulates the young student Jay Burgess & Dick Deters presents 3rd place medal to another young student - at far right Pete Hackett & George Semenek presents the 2nd place medal

Honor Guard members on service flags - Commander Bernie Gdula, Phil Loparo, Ron Hyers, Don Penner, Al Kuznicki & Honor Guard Captain Rich Hill Bud Passini & Ron Ruff ready to present medal with teacher to young student
 
Pride & Patriotism's of Logo

Jay Burgess, Ron Ruff & Dick Deters Don Penner & Al Kuznicki Phil Loparo, Al Kuznicki & Ron Hyers

Pete Hackett, George Semenek & Bud Passini Pam Ruff & Her Mother, Monica Penner &Claire Taylor in front Mariner High School Band

 

EDISON POPS AT SUNSET 2011

EDISON POPS - Saturday, October 22, 2011 at 7 pm -  Another absolutely great event with the Edison State College Pops Symphony and Broadway Star Michael Cavanaugh and his group invited back for a second year - And invited back for the 5th straight year the Lexington Veterans Color Guard performed with Rifleman Jay Burgess, American Flag  Ron Ruff, Lexington Flag Len Rubens, Rifleman Dick Deters, Army Flag Bud Passini, Navy Flag Bernie Gdula, US Marine Corps Flag Rich Hill, Air Force Flag Phil Loparo, Coast Guard Flag Ron Hyers. 

Color Guard for Edison Pops - l to r - Jay Burgess, Bud Passini, Commander Bernie Gdula, Honor Guard Captain Rich Hill, Past Commander Ron Ruff, Len Rubens, Ron Hyers, Dick Deters & Phil Loparo HG Captain Rich Hill giving directions to Burgess, Ruff, Rubens & Deters Bud Passini and Commander Bernie Gdula

Ron Hyers, Phil Loparo & Commander Bernie Gdula Gdula, Loparo, Passini, Hyers and Hill Vets join their wives for Appetizers

Other Lexington folks say Hi to the Vets and their wives Color Guard performing for National Anthem Service Flag Guard performing for the Armed Forces Salute

LVA COLOR GUARD AT SUMMIT CHRISTIAN CHURCH

Veterans Day was celebrated by faculty and students of the Summit Christian Church next to Lexington on Wednesday, Nov 10 in a ceremony in which the LVA Color Guard presented the colors.  LVA participants were Jay Burgess, Ken Taylor, Al Kuznicki and Ron Hyers.

LVA COLOR GUARD AT WINKLER BAPTIST CHURCH

Six LVA Color Guard participants not only presented the colors at the Winkler Road Baptist Church on Sunday, November 7th but came away in awe of the finest church service honoring Veterans any of them ever experienced.  Thanks to Pastor Don Strange and Associate Pastor Robert Sutton and a capacity congregation, the Veterans Day service was outstanding.  Greatly helping making it a special time was Lt. Colonel Youstra, Air Force Chaplin, recently returned from Afghanistan where he was the commanding Chaplin of all US military chaplains in country.   Previous to becoming a Chaplin he was in Army Special Forces for several years.  Chaplin Youstra told many stories about the situation in Afghanistan and the sacrifices our forces are making.  His ability to weave biblical passages to certain aspects of those stories was exceptional.  The LVA Color Guard participants were Jay Burgess, Al Kuznicki, Rich Hill, Phil Loparo, George Semenek and James Antonic.

MARINE GUNNERY PRACTICE

Every fall for the past few years the LVA and the Lee County Sheriff's Dept., has sponsored a gunnery practice for Marine Poolies at the outstanding Sheriff's Gun Range facility.  After time on the range and like time on the outdoors fitness course there is a closing ceremony complete with a large Marine Corps birthday cake sliced with a Marine Corps sword.  The payoff is always evident at Parris Island when the Poolies become real Marines.  Their ability on the gunnery range is apparent.  The Marine Sgts at the local recruiting office and the Sheriff's gunnery experts at the range really help these young folks.  LVA's Ben Polk has been the coordinator of this important event since its inception.

Marine Corps SSgt addressing the Poolies Poolies awaiting their turn on the range Poolie firing an M15 weapon

Sheriff Gunnery Trainer Sgt Cummings LVA on lookers Gdula, Hyers, Antonic, Loparo & Semenek Semenek & Gdula firing 45's

Hyers and Antonic firing 45's Army Veteran Antonic had an impressive record but Ben points out one flaw Pretty good for an old Navy Petty Officer...look at the smile on Bernie's face

Sgt Cummings - Head of Special Operations Division along with Ben and Gunnery Trainer Dektas The yummy Marine Corps Birthday cake...235 years Marine Corps Veteran Polk cuts the cake with the traditional USMC sword while Marine Corps Private Shelby Myers looks on

 

 

EDISON POPS AT SUNSET 2010

EDISON POPS  AT SUNSET - Saturday, October 23, 2010 - An absolutely great event with the Edison State College Pops Symphony and Broadway Star Michael Cavanaugh and his group - Lexington Veterans Color Guard performed with Rifleman Jay Burgess, American Flag  Ron Ruff, Lexington Flag Al Kuznicki, Rifleman James Antonic, Army Flag Ned Gamsky, Navy Flag Ken Taylor, US Marine Corps Flag Rich Hill, Air Force Flag Phil Loparo, Coast Guard Flag Bernie Gdula.

 

LVA COLOR GUARD AT ECS FOOTBALL GAME

Evangelical Christian School's opening football game on September 10, 2010 was highlighted not only by a victory but also by the LVA Color Guard's Presentation of the Colors just prior to the game.  ECS decided it was appropriate the night before Patriot's Day - 9/11 to honor military veterans, police and firemen.  Participating from Lexington was Rich Hill, Ron Ruff, Al Kuznicki and Phil Loparo.                                                                                                                           

BRIGHTEST HORIZONS FLAG DAY

Brightest Horizons Child Development Center in Harlem Heights on Gladiolus Road was the scene of a rededication of their flag pole.  The center is a school for both pre-school kids as well as elementary youngsters from disadvantaged areas.  Back in 2002, The Lexington Veterans Association and the Lexington Community raised over $800 for the flagpole installation and flag.  The Executive Director at that time wished that the children could learn to respect the flag and know how to fold it properly, raise and lower it every day.  On December 16, 2002 the Lexington Veterans Honor Guard held a flag dedication ceremony with the older kids participating. Over the years the lanyard rope failed and the flag flew no longer plus the school did not have the funds to replace it much less buy flags.  Veteran Phil Loparo had some flags given to him by the late Libby Hart and decided to donate those to the school.  The LVA bought a new lanyard and the local Fire Department truck & ladder Firemen installed it.  On June 7, 2010 a group of Lexington Veteran Honor Guard members (Ron Ruff, Ben Polk, Phil Loparo & Howard Miller) reconvened the school kids and teachers and once again showed the kids how to properly handle the flag. (Photos by Howard Miller)

Commander Ron Ruff & Vice Commander Phil Loparo attached the flag Children and teachers gather at all levels of the building to listen and watch Marine Korean War Veteran Ben Polk tells the kids about the flag

Kids are taught how to fold the flag Flag folding continued with Commander Ruff, Ben Polk and Phil Loparo teaching Kids are taught how to raise the flag and lower it and move it to half staff

GULF COAST SYMPHONY "QUIET HEROES" EVENT 2010

The Lexington Veterans Association's Color/Honor Guard was honored to be selected to Present Colors and Salute the Armed Forces on stage with the Gulf Coast Symphony in its symphonic tribute to the Heroes of Iwo Jima last Sunday evening at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall.

65 years ago this month, the United States Marines fought for and captured the island of Iwo Jima during World War II. In honor of the Veterans of the Battle of Iwo Jima and all of our United States Armed Forces,  the Gulf Coast Symphony, special guest narrator, film and television star and fellow Marine,
Wilford Brimley,  guest speaker Major General James L. Dozier and the Lexington Veterans Color/ Honor Guard performed Quiet Heroes: A Salute to the Heroes of Iwo Jima. The East coast premiere of this powerful and moving symphonic suite composed by Chris Brubeck was well received by a sold out audience.  The Lexington Guard was represented by Honor Guard Captain Rich Hill; Riflemen Jay Burgess & Bernie Gdula;  American Flag, Ron Ruff; Lexington Flag, Al Kuznicki and Service Flags - Army, George Semenek; Navy - Ken Taylor; USMC - Ben Polk; Air Force - Phil Loparo and Coast Guard - Ron Hyers.
 

 

MONICA BENNING EVENT 2010

The Lexington Veterans Association has awarded Pearl Harbor Survivor Army Nurse Monica Conter Benning with an Honorary Membership into the LVA "Veterans Hall of Honor" on March 6, 2010 in a special ceremony at Gulf Coast Hospital where she was a patient.  Commander Ron Ruff made the presentation.  Some of you may remember Monica from her electrifying story of that fateful moment as Pearl Harbor was being attacked on December 7, 1941 and her story has been chronicled in books and movies.  She has been to the White House and Tom Brokaw has honored her at Pearl Harbor.  LVA participants were Commander Ron Ruff, Vice Commander Bernie Gdula and Honor Guard Captain & Past Commander Rich Hill.

PRIDE & PATRIOTISM EVENT 2009

The 7th Annual Pride & Patriotism Event -  Youth Celebrating the Arts and Honoring Our Veterans - at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall on the campus of Edison State College.  This annual outstanding event features Lee County students depicting the role of Veterans through poetry and art work.  The winners from K thru 12 were featured and veterans awarded those student winners medals.  In addition there are several outstanding musical events featuring the 86 member Cape Coral Elementary Choir, The SW Florida Youth Symphony Orchestra and the North Fort Myers High School Band. Students, Veterans, Teachers and the Lee County ROTC combine to make this an unforgettable event.  Twelve Lexington Veterans participated. They were Jay Burgess, Bernie Gdula, Rich Hill, Ron Hyers, Al Kuznicki, Phil Loparo, Howard Miller, Len Rubens, Ron Ruff, George Semenek, Ken Taylor and Paul Tenenbaum. Howard's grand daughter Julia Kaye sang the National Anthem accompanied by the Symphony Orchestra. Both LCA and the LVA contributed funds to help support this outstanding event.

 

Lexington Middle School Student Julia Kaye singing the National Anthem Ron Hyers & Phil Loparo awarding medal to Three Oaks Elementary student Hannah Bennett Rich Hill congratulating 1st place Art winner Trafalgar Elementary student Kayla McNeely

 

Veterans Howard Miller & George Semenek award Three Oaks Middle student Andie Kunkle a medal LVA vice commander Paul Tenenbaum smiling with pride for Dunbar Middle student William Barbuto along with fellow veteran Bob Kummins Al Kuznicki & Len Rubens cheering on Caloosa Middle student Andrew Salyer

   
Jay Burgess & Commander Ron Ruff putting medal around the neck of Three Oaks Elementary student Taylor Bouchard    

PRIDE & PATRIOTISM EVENT 2008

The 6th Annual Pride & Patriotism Event...Youth Celebrating the Arts and Honoring Our Veterans... at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall on the campus of Edison State College was a big hit with the nearly sold out crowd.  Put on each year by The School District of Lee County, Florida in conjunction with The Southwest Florida Symphony the purpose is to engage our school children in learning more about veterans and their service to our country by translating that learning into art, poetry and music.

That was certainly and convincingly the case last evening November 19th if applause is any measure of success.  The Lexington Veterans Association was quite involved in the event.  Rich Hill serves on the Event Steering Committee and had a special role in the Korean War tribute.  Lexington volunteer escorts included Jay Burgess, Bernie Gdula, Rich Hill, Phil Loparo, Ben Polk, Ron Ruff, George Semenek, Alek Strich, Ken Taylor and Milan Zimer. The Escorts accompany the grade level winners of art and poetry on stage and present the kids with medals.  The poetry and art work symbolize the school kids interpretation of what veterans did while in the service of their country and the winners were selected from several hundred entries by judges.  These presentations were interspersed by outstanding patriotic music from the Southwest Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra, The Ida Baker High School Band and the Three Oaks Elementary School Chorus along with other patriotic events.  The LVA also contributed funding for the event.

Don Tallon, a WWII veteran & Commander of the Collier           Chapter of the Ex-Prisoner of War, describes the Missing Man table Michael Hall conducts the SW Florida Youth Symphony in excepts from "Band of Brothers" Youth Symphony Cellos Performing The Three Oaks Elementary School Chorus directed by David Norris sings "America, I Give My Thanks to You"  

Close up of the Chorus

 

   
Korean War Veteran & Lexington Veteran Rich Hill reads the Korean War Salute Poem Michael Wardell, a member of the SW Florida Youth Symphony, plays "Taps" following the Poem The Rev. Dr. Randy Moody of the "Sons of the American Revolution" leads the audience in prayer    

EDISON POPS CONCERT

Saturday, Oct 25, 2008 - This is second year in a row that the Lexington Color Guard has been privileged to serve this charitable event in presenting the colors and highlighting the Armed Forces Medley performed by the Edison College Symphony Orchestra.

Color Guard - from l to r: Rich Hill, Ron Ruff, Ben Polk (saluting the Marine Corps Hymn), Phil Loparo

 

MEDAL OF HONOR MEMORIAL DEDICATION CEREMONY

On Thursday, April 24, 2008 - Dedication ceremony of the Hector Cafferata Memorial at the Cape Coral                 elementary school named in his honor.  Hector is a member of the Marine Corps "Chosin Few" from the Korean War and a Medal of Honor recipient.  The school kids, teachers and the school choir participated in this event.  The school is located at 250 Santa Barbara Blvd North.

Medal of Honor - Nation's Highest Award Honor Guard at Memorial Crowd milling around Hector on right, Jay Burgess in center

Hector with old Marine Brothers Plaque on Memorial Hector flanked by Ben Polk & Rich Hill Memorials like Hector's helps Remembrance of the Korean War

KOREAN WAR VETERAN'S MEMORIAL DEDICATION CEREMONY

Another impressive Memorial ceremony occurred on Sunday, March 30 at 2 pm at Veterans Park (Echo Park), just across Veterans Bridge in Cape Coral during the unveiling ceremony of the new Korean War Memorial. Lexington Color/Honor Guard had the honor of performing the Silent Rifle Drill in front of well over 100 people that included the Military Officers of the Republic of Korea, members of CentCom in Tampa.  Add to that the Cape Elementary School Chorus singing several patriotic songs, The Korean Community Church Choir singing the Korean National Anthem, Rifle Salute by VFW Post 8463 Honor Guard, Lexington Honor Guard Captain Rich Hill performing "Taps", the closing of "Amazing Grace" by the Lee County Pipes & Drums, all making for a somber day of remembrance to the 54,246 Americans killed in the three year Korean War.  Commander Don Hamm-Johnson of the local Korean War Veterans Association was Master of Ceremonies.

SW Florida Korean War Monument Lexington's Rich Hill playing Taps Marine Corps League Honor Guard leads march in Patriotic singers Cape Coral Elementary School performs.

Laying the wreath Don Hamm -Johnston introduces Mayor Eric Feichthaler At Present Arms Korean Army General  Jeong

   

Lee County Pipes & Drums     Silent Rifle Drill Team performs

 

 

VIETNAM VETERAN'S MEMORIAL DEDICATION CEREMONY

In one of the most impressive and emotional veteran ceremony's in recent memory, The Southwest Florida Vietnam Veteran's Memorial was dedicated Sunday, March 9th.  The Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 594 spearheaded the development of the Monument and the ceremony as well.  Special speaker was Lexington's retired Colonel Milan Zimer, a highly decorated Air Force F- 4 fighter pilot with well over 100 missions in Vietnam.  Milan stirred the memories of hundreds of Vietnam Veterans in attendance with his descriptions of the difficult times back in the 60's and 70's, how the distortions of the press and the political mismanagement of the war led to the undermining of the brave and many times victorious efforts of the military and of he and Linda's recent return to Vietnam and the attempt to put to rest the difficult memories of that time in his life.  Finally, as a Huey Vietnam vintage Chopper flew over the site, the Last Patrol reenactment of a Special Forces unit operating behind enemy lines brought pride, tears, and patriotism to the forefront of the many hundreds in attendance.  As the Last Patrol worked their way up to the Monument and placed their heads and hands on the three black walls listing the 76 SW Florida soldiers who lost their lives, a deafening and respectful silence filled the area.  (photos by Rich Hill)

Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Vietnam Veteran Chapter 594 Color Guard marches in Retired Air Force Colonel & Vietnam Vet Milan Zimer was the Main Speaker Service Flags flying

Special Forces Last Patrol Spotting the enemy Last Patrol pays tribute to fallen heroes Huey Chopper fly over

A caring wife wipes tears off her Marine Vietnam Vet husband as he relives the memories Last Patrol pays respect to their fallen brothers Vietnam Vet salutes the flag Lexington Vets attend - Ken Taylor & Bernie Gdula - further down the row are Vietnam Vet & Speaker Jim DeVoss, Jake Kaleel & Vietnam Vet George Semenek

 

LEXINGTON VETERANS HOST SW FLORIDA KO WAR VETS TO HEAR ABOUT NEW NATIONAL MUSEUM

A very special meeting for Korean War Veterans of SW Florida took place on Jan 31 at Lexington Country Club.  Hosted by the Lexington Veterans Association, an exciting slide presentation unveiling the new interactive Korean War Veterans National Museum & Library was presented by Larry Sassorossi, Executive Director.  Entitled A War No Longer Forgotten, the Mission of the Museum is to educate people about the historical significance of the Korean War.

The new state of the art 21st century interactive Museum will be located in Springfield, Illinois across from the popular Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.  Korean War Veterans from the host Lexington Veterans Association, SW Florida Chapter of the Korean War Veterans, The Chosin Few Veterans of SW Florida and the Combat Infantrymenís Association of SW Florida were enthusiastic about the endeavor.  The total cost of building the new museum will be $18.4 million.  Over 65,000 individuals have sent contributions to the effort.  The financial support of patriotic citizens and corporations will ensure that the building will open in time for many of the forgotten heroes to know their valiant sacrifices were not in vain. For more information visit - www.KWNM.org

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The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
to

CAFFERATA, HECTOR A., JR.

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Company F, 2d Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein.). Place and date: Korea, 28 November 1950. Entered service at: Dover, N.J. Born: 4 November 1929, New York, N.Y.
Citation:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a rifleman with Company F, in action against enemy aggressor forces. When all the other members of his fire team became casualties, creating a gap in the lines, during the initial phase of a vicious attack launched by a fanatical enemy of regimental strength against his company's hill position, Pvt. Cafferata waged a lone battle with grenades and rifle fire as the attack gained momentum and the enemy threatened penetration through the gap and endangered the integrity of the entire defensive perimeter. Making a target of himself under the devastating fire from automatic weapons, rifles, grenades, and mortars, he maneuvered up and down the line and delivered accurate and effective fire against the onrushing force, killing 15, wounding many more, and forcing the others to withdraw so that reinforcements could move up and consolidate the position. Again fighting desperately against a renewed onslaught later that same morning when a hostile grenade landed in a shallow entrenchment occupied by wounded marines, Pvt. Cafferata rushed into the gully under heavy fire, seized the deadly missile in his right hand and hurled it free of his comrades before it detonated, severing part of 1 finger and seriously wounding him in the right hand and arm. Courageously ignoring the intense pain, he staunchly fought on until he was struck by a sniper's bullet and forced to submit to evacuation for medical treatment Stouthearted and indomitable, Pvt. Cafferata, by his fortitude, great personal valor, and dauntless perseverance in the face of almost certain death, saved the lives of several of his fellow marines and contributed essentially to the success achieved by his company in maintaining its defensive position against tremendous odds. His extraordinary heroism throughout was in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

 

KWNM Exec Director Sassorossi honors MOH Cafferata Medal of Honor recipient Hector Cafferata asking a question about the Korean War National Museum The SW Florida Chapter of the Chosin Few presents LVA with Photo of Korean War Memorial in D.C. from L to R - Wally Dugan of CF - Rich Hill of LVA - MOH Hector Cafferata of CF - Ken Taylor of LVA Larry Sassorossi and other vets talking about the new Museum

Exec Director Sassorossi of the Korean War National Museum Vice Commander Paul Tenenbaum who organized the event Ambassador Yong Chol Ahn & Rich Hill of LVA Medal of Honor recipient Hector Cafferata with Ambassador Ahn

 LEXINGTON VETERANS TREAT MARINE "POOLIES" TO FIRING RANGE

The new Armed Forces 90 Day Recruit Deferment program really tests aspiring military hopefuls.  Toward the end of their training and the survivors preparing to head for regular duty boot camp training, the Lexington Veterans Association, in cooperation with the Lee County Sheriff's Dept., hosted some 40 Marine "Poolies", as they are called, to a day on the firing range.  The gun range is the "state of the art" facility in Buckingham.  It happened to coincide with the Marine Corps Birthday, Nov 10.  Spearheaded by Ben Polk and his son, retired Marine Major Morgan Polk, it was a great experience for these young men and women. (See pictures below) Photos are Thumbnails - please click on photo to enlarge, then click on browser back button to return to this page   (Photos by Adair Polk)

Marine "Poolies" preparing for the day So young looking to prepare for such tough duty - soon to Parris Island Boot Camp Marine "Poolies" on the range awaiting instructions the Sheriff's experts

Weapons ready for the gun range Young Marines showing off their targets - Lex Vets from l to r:  Bernie Gdula, Ron Hyers, Ken Taylor, Rich Hill & Ben Polk Lex Vets with Marine Non-Coms at day's end .  Polk shaking hand with the head honcho - Master Sgt Alyward

VISIT TO COAST GUARD FACILITY

Friday, August 25, 2006 -  Five members of the Lexington Veterans Association toured the Fort Myers Beach Coast Guard Station on August 25. They received information on the scope of responsibilities, manpower, boating capabilities and overall mission. Those attending were Ben Polk, Ken Taylor, Petty Officer Townley, Rich Hill, Bill Ratliff and Bob Lotz.

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l to r: Polk, Taylor, Townsley, Hill, Ratliff & Lotz Petty Officer Townsley talking to Hill, Lotz, Taylor & Ratliff l to r: Hill, Ratliff, Taylor, Lotz & Polk

 

MONICA & ANNIE'S SAGAS - 63 YEARS IN BETWEEN

Monica Benning, Army Nurse survivor of the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941 was superb in telling her first hand account of Dec 7th.  Coupled with the amazing story of 11 year old Annie Hassie receiving the Purple Heart from Iraqi War Veteran Scott Montgomery, the Veterans Luncheon became one of the best ever.  (Click on Lex Events & Luncheons  to see the whole story)

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Annie Hassie, 11 yr. old with Purple Heart Annie and Monica Benning, Army Nurse survivor of Pearl Harbor attack in 1941 and main speaker Norm & Beth Smith, Grandparents with Annie and her parents, Jim and Elizabeth Hassie of Greenwood, Indiana
 

LEXINGTON VETERANS TREAT MARINE RECRUITS TO PIZZA

The new Armed Forces 90 Day Recruit Deferment program really tests aspiring military hopefuls.  Toward the end of their training and the survivors preparing to head for regular duty boot camp training, the Lexington Veterans Association treated them to pizza.

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Lex Vets Ben Polk, Phil Loparo & Rich Hill host Marine Recruits at the local Marine Corps Recruiting Headquarters Same group outside the Marine Corps Recruiting Station in Fort Myers.  Many of them left for Parris Island Marine Boot Camp the following Monday  

 

KOREAN WAR "CHOSIN FEW" MEMORIAL DEDICATION

On Saturday, April 24th, 2004, Korean War Veterans Ben Polk and Rich Hill and their wives attended the Southwest Florida Chapter of The Chosin Few dedication of their new memorial in Eco Park,  Cape Coral.  The Lexington Veterans Association gave the Chapter a check for  $200 towards the memorial.  One of the epic battles in all Marine Corps history occurred in Nov of 1950 in the mountains of North Korea.  With temperatures reaching 50 degrees below zero and surrounded by over 120,000 Chinese forces, a division of Marines with attached units of the Army I-Corps, bravely fought their way some 80 miles to the coast near Hungnam where the U.S. Navy evacuated the survivors and some 100,000 North Korean refugees.  Suffering huge losses but inflicting death to nearly a 100,000 Chinese troops, "The Chosin Few " as they are so aptly referred to wrote a new chapter in Marine Corps History.  One of our Lexington own, who died 5 years ago here, was one of those brave marines - Purple Heart recipient Miles Vondra.   Miles was wounded in November 1950 in that epic battle and evacuated to a hospital in Japan.  He returned to the U.S. in mid 1951.  A number of survivors were introduced on Saturday including local Lee County Medal of Honor recipient Hector Cafferata, Jr.

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Music: US Navy Band - "4 Ruffles & Flourishes & Honor's March"