For many legitimate reasons, Vets Finding Vets, as with most organizations, programs, businesses, and families had to rework social activities drastically to keep our Veterans safe during COVID.
We made good use of our time, and waited impatiently for things to become normal again. Although things have become more normal, thankfully, we still continue to be cautious to some extent.
The Honor Flights are up and going again, and the third flight since COVID was held on Oct 22nd! I continue to help local Vets with the needed paperwork/travel arrangements at no charge to them. This works out perfectly, as this way they get to know other area Vets that they will share these wonderful memories with.
Fenton Canteen has been “back home” in the Fenton Mansion since July 2022, although Canteen will gather at the Research Center in November because the ever-popular Holiday Christmas Mart will have crafters set up all over the Mansion. I’ll take advantage of having the Vets at the Research Center where I can expound on the many genealogical, local history, and Veteran resources that are available to Chautauqua County Veterans at no cost to them. New veterans are always welcome.
Quilts of Valor has been a wonderful addition as periodic special ceremonies which honor War Veterans individually, no matter the number of recipients per event. It is especially heart-warming that the ladies who present the ceremonies and quilts are happy to go to residential homes or nursing homes to bestow the honors. Some quilt guilds and individuals have stepped up to help as they know how richly blessed we are with Veterans in Chautauqua County.
We, as the Fenton History Center, were very excited to present the first-ever Soldier’s Friend Scholarship for $1000 to Brianna Rosequist. She left to begin her National Guard training very shortly after her “debut” on the Fenton History Center float during the Fourth of July Parade in Mayville. We wish her well in her endeavors, both in the National Guard and college after training. This is heartening to us as it highlights our favorite New York State Governor and his involvement with Soldiers and Veterans.
This summer, we became a Blue Star Museum, which honors the serving members of the military and their families by giving free admission when visiting the Museum. The service member may be stationed or deployed out of the area when the family is visiting the area, and they need not be Chautauqua County Veterans. We are beginning a Blue Star Memorial Garden this fall, and in the spring when the City will help us with hearty floral additions we will have a heavy duty weather resistant bench for seating in the garden. The bench will be the result of our involvement in the NexTrex Recycling Program. We are gathering soft plastic and only need 500 lbs of it! We have a large container in each building and welcome public participation to help us reach our goal.
Our summer exhibit highlighting the 100th Anniversary of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church was a marvelous opportunity for me to document their Veteran members past and present. Liz Frederick was a very dedicated co-worker in that endeavor, and has become a dear friend.
Last, but certainly not least, were the two post-covid adventures we were so eager to take part in.
The first took place on July 15, when we enjoyed (to the max) a bus trip to the World War II Museum in Eldred, PA. This was a joint event with Dwyer Chautauqua Vets and Cindy Reidy, the Dwyer Project Coordinator. We have gone several times over the years and learn new and amazing things each time we go. Steve Appleby, the Museum Director, was very happy to see the big bus roll up with so many Veterans of all ages.
The second adventure took place (after 2 years) on the Chautauqua Belle for a Veteran Cruise of the Chadakoin. It was wonderful and a lot of fun on this joint voyage with Dwyer Chautauqua. Hats off to Cindy and to the Patriotic Bingo players and supporters who funded this trip. PS- Patriotic Bingo is not gambling and we’ll probably bring it back the next time we fundraise for events.
You might suspect that I love my job – and you would be right!
Thank you for your support as well!!
Go to the Fenton History Center website to donate!