‘Gratitude and Admiration’ for Valley Veterans

WARREN, Ohio – Families and supporters filled First Presbyterian Church on Friday to honor veterans’ service and sacrifice in commemoration of Veterans Day.

“We are united in gratitude and admiration for the brave men and women who have served our nation with honor, courage and selflessness,” Mayor Doug Franklin said. 

Veterans have answered the call of duty, leaving the comforts of home and the embrace of loved ones behind to serve, he said. 

“Today, we also honor their families who have stood by their side, offering unwavering support, enduring long separations and facing the challenges that come from military life,” he said. 

Allen Frantz of Bristolville, a U.S. Army and Air Force veteran, waves a flag during the Veterans Day event Friday.

During the observance, which concluded with a parade, Franklin presented a proclamation commemorating the 100th anniversary of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1090, 611 High St. NE.

Herm Breuer, director of the Trumbull County Veterans Service Commission, also lauded the post in his presentation. It was the first veterans organization to reach out to him when he returned from serving in Iraq in 2005, he said.

“The post served as a place that those returning from overseas after serving could go to and find that camaraderie that they had missed,” he said.

Its ranks swelled after World War II.

“But I can tell you that I would be lying if I told you that veterans organizations are the same today as they have always been,” the veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan said. “The truth is the organizations are struggling to find leadership to step up and lead the younger generations where they live in a rapidly changing world with conflict and discourse permeating everything.”

They have to lead the same as they did when they served, he said.

“They put aside differences, and they roll up their sleeves and they get to work,” Breuer said.

James Rapone talks about postcards found at VFW Post 1090 that were written by soldiers in the late 1930s.

James Rapone, a Marine veteran of the Vietnam War, VFW member and member of the board of the Trumbull County Veterans Service Commission, read postcards found recently at the post and organized with the help of representatives from the Trumbull County Historical Society. 

The postcards were written in the late 1930s to the post commander soldiers to say thanks for cigarettes, cigars and other items sent by the post.

VFW Commander Chuck Ciapala, a Marine Corps veteran, said the national VFW started in 1899 in Columbus. 

“It’s one of the oldest veterans organizations in America,” he said.

Andrea Gintert of Champion attended the ceremony with her son, Nathan, 4. Nathan’s grandfather is a veteran.

Its mission is to support veterans and the military, and since its establishment 100 years ago, VFW Post 1090 has been carrying out that mission, Ciapala said. 

“Through conflicts, war, peace – Post 1090 has been here to take care of our veterans and their families and will continue to do so,” he said. 

Ciapala credited the post auxiliary for the work done to support the post.

“There have been posts that have closed across the country. However, VFW 1090 still stands,” he said. 

The post performs community service projects such as food drives as part of its support for the city. 

“Post 1090 and its history is sewn into the fabric of this great city as hers is into ours,” Ciapala said. 

Pictured at top: Chuck Ciapala, VFW Post 1090 commander, accepts a proclamation from Warren Mayor Doug Franklin.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.