St. Cecilia students chip in to honor veterans at Protestant Home

The Philadelphia Protestant Home held its annual Veterans Day ceremony with a little help from St. Cecilia students.

Students from St. Cecilia School serve Philadelphia Protestant Home residents who are veterans during a luncheon on Monday. JACK TOMCZUK / TIMES PHOTO

Students from St. Cecilia School visited the Philadelphia Protestant Home on Monday to serve food to military veterans and participate in a program marking Veterans Day.

About 15 kids from the Fox Chase school’s student council served lunch and made cards for the PPH veterans. They also wrote essays and gave a presentation about the symbolism of the Prisoner of War/Missing in Action table, which is left vacant and set for one.

The luncheon also included a speech by Paul McBride, a Father Judge High School graduate who joined the U.S. Marines Corps after graduating from Villanova University in 1983. 

McBride recounted how John DeWald, a PPH resident who died last month, helped him discover more about his father’s time in the service. DeWald and Cletus McBride, who died 36 years ago, fought together in World War II after both graduated from North Catholic High School in 1942.

The younger McBridge encouraged veterans at the event to share their stories.

“We’ve got to let the younger generations know what we experienced,” he said. 

St. Cecilia students give a presentation Monday about the Prisoners of War/Missing in Action Table during a Veterans Day program at the Philadelphia Protestant Home. JACK TOMCZUK / TIMES PHOTO

Bill Conaway, PPH’s director of community relations, remembered Leslie Holmes, an employee at the senior home and U.S. Air Force veteran who was recently killed in a quadruple shooting in West Philadelphia.

A representative from the Bucks County Tour of Honor told those in attendance about how the organization runs annual trips for veterans to Washington D.C. to visit various memorials. 

Others who spoke at the event included state Rep. Jared Solomon, a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve; the Rev. Al Concha, the pastor of St. William Catholic Church who served for two decades as a military chaplain; Phil Innamorato from U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey’s office; and Pastor Jack Price, of Bethany United Church of Christ, who gave the invocation and closing prayer. ••