Lawncrest rolls out red carpet to honor local vets

Lawncrest neighbors honored veterans on Saturday.

Enjoying their day: Members of the Kiwanis Club of Phil-Mont laid wreaths during a ceremony at the Lawncrest Recreation Center. TOM WARING / TIMES PHOTO

The Lawncrest community turned out on Saturday morning for the neighborhood’s annual Veterans Day observance at the war memorial, located in the Lawncrest Recreation Center grove.

Neighborhood activist and lifelong Lawncrest resident Kathy Wersinger organizes the event, with assistance from Bill Dolbow, president of the Lawncrest Community Association.

State Reps. Jared Solomon, a U.S. Army JAG Reserve Officer, and Isabella Fitzgerald were among those in attendance.

The crowd recited the Pledge of Allegiance and sang the national anthem, and listened to patriotic music.

Representatives of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion were on hand, and members of the Kiwanis Club of Phil-Mont laid wreaths.

The monument was originally dedicated to veterans of the Korean and Vietnam wars. It has since been rededicated to include veterans of Operation Desert Storm and the Global War on Terrorism.

U.S. Navy veterans Linwood Holland and Brad El were the guest speakers.

All veterans were invited to the microphone to announce themselves and their branch of service, and were given thank you cards from St. Cecilia Elementary School seventh- and eighth-graders.

Prayers were offered by the Revs. Al Concha, pastor at St. William Catholic Church and a Navy chaplain for two decades, and Louis Tillman, the new pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church.

MaST Community Charter School II fourth-grader Aniyah Williams and Franklin Elementary School fifth-grader Emmanuel Chery read their winning essays on the subject, “America’s Gift to My Generation.” The LCA presented each youngster with $50 and invited them to read the essays at the group’s December meeting.

Phil Grutzmacher, an LCA official, read the war poem In Flanders Fields.

Bill Conaway, director of community relations at the Philadelphia Protestant Home, spoke of the significance of the Prisoner of War/Missing in Action table, set for one with an inverted chair.

Deb Mikus, who retired in April from Lawncrest Library, paid tribute to the Greatest Generation. ••