Dozens of veterans honored for service during pinning ceremony

Jon Wysochanski
Morning Journal

WESTLAKE, OH — Patriotism ran high, as did emotions, during a pinning ceremony honoring veterans Friday at a local skilled nursing facility.

Valley View-based Crossroads Hospice recognized 41 veterans living at Our House, 27633 Bassett Road in Westlake, with a pinning and flag ceremony followed by a multiple gun salute.

Crossroads Hospice volunteer coordinator Jane Hobart said the facility routinely recognizes veterans living in nursing homes with patriotic pinning ceremonies.

Veterans received recognition certificates and were saluted and pinned by Theodore Wilson, a Navy veteran who serves as Crossroads Hospice chaplain.

Wilson was a lieutenant in the Navy and is a combat veteran of Desert Shield and Desert Storm, where he served as a chaplain for the Second battalion second Marine regiment.

“Having been a chaplain in the service, this is near and dear to me,” he said. “We try to be empathetic with these men because as civilians, we tend to forget.”

Wilson began the ceremony by reading a poem andcommemorating the veterans for serving together as Americans, regardless of race, religion or political or economic background.

“We are grateful for what you’ve done,” he said. “Your story needs to live on and continue.”

Hobart said it isn’t uncommon to encounter service members who have never been thanked for the sacrifices they made. “We pay special tribute to them,” she said. “A lot of these veterans are very appreciative and many state that no one has ever thanked them for their service. It’s very emotional — these gentleman are very proud of their service.”

Members of the Elyria Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1079 Honor Guard performed a flag ceremony, gun salute and “Taps” following the pinning ceremony.

Resident David Brzezinski served in the Army, 3rd Battalion, 64th Armor, 3rd Infantry Division in Germany during the Vietnam War from 1962-65 as a high-security clearance clerk typist.

Just hearing “Taps” stirred his emotions, reminding him of friends lost and the thousands of others who never made it home, he said.

“I, fortunately, was never in harm’s way,” Brzezinski said. “But I lost many friends in Vietnam. The United States lost 16,500 men in one year in 1968.”

John Trommetter served in the Navy Construction Battalion from 1977-79. He had little to say about his service, but he was very pleased with the ceremony.

“I don’t like to say much about the Navy,” Trommetter said. “But, I do think it was very nice of them to come out here and do this for us.”