By Rachel Ravina, Staff Writer
(May 30, 2019) Veterans at Berlin Nursing and Rehabilitation Center were honored for their service during a ceremony last Wednesday.
They were originally part of Ocean City Elks Lodge #2645’s sixth annual “Hometown Heroes,” banner dedication ceremony, held May 2 on the Ocean City Boardwalk, but the facility’s van broke down before they were able to leave.
“We were ready to go, and the van was not willing,” Jo Davis, activities director at Berlin Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, said.
Davis, and Volunteer Ray Angelo, attended the Boardwalk ceremony on behalf of the other veterans.
“I was proud to accept the banners for the gentlemen that weren’t there,” Angelo said.
Angelo served as a medic in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, and Davis praised his work with the other veterans at the facility since October 2018.
“It’s a great honor it really is,” Angelo said. I’m a junior compared to these two gentlemen.”
Davis said they spoke with State Sen. Mary Beth Carozza (R-38) and came up with the idea to recreate the ceremony at the facility on Healthway Drive in Berlin.
“So we made it happen, and … it was even better that you guys had the service here because it was your own personal service and it was very lovely,” Davis said.
“This special event allowed us to honor our Berlin Nursing Home veterans and hometown heroes,” Carozza said in a statement. “We had a better idea and decided to take this special event to our Berlin Nursing Home veterans.”
There were between 35 and 40 people at last week’s event, including veterans and their family members, who came out to support the men in uniform.
Among those veterans during last week’s ceremony were:
- John J. Alex, a corporal in the U.S. Army Air Force World War II
- John Andrews, a major in the U.S. Army during World War II
- Robert Banks II, a master sergeant in U.S. Air Force in Korea
- Alan Brittingham, a staff sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps in Korea
- Thomas Clarke Sr., a sergeant in the U.S. Army during World War II and Korea
- Luther “Luke” Loveless, a private first class in the U.S. Army National Guard in Korea
- Larry Moses Moore, a seaman in the U.S. Navy in Korea
Clarke and Loveless have since died. Banks said he was touched by the tribute.
“We were surprised that we had an opportunity to do it here right,” Banks said. “We looked forward to the other experience, but it just didn’t happen. But this time, it happened.”
Banks served in the Air Force from 1954-56, and spent his time stateside. He had electronics training at a base in Mississippi.
He went onto say how, when he arrived, his superior warned African- American service members not to go across a certain train track.
“This is Mississippi, that’s what he told us,” Banks said.
For Andrews, who served in the U.S. Army from 1938-61, he said he was grateful for the recognition.
“[It was a] great honor for me. Good Lord,” Andrews said. “Who else, how many people in this world do get that?”
Andrews, who will turn 100 years old in September, recalled several experiences while stationed in Europe and North Africa, including meeting Gen. George S. Patton.
“It was no big deal. I threw him a salute,” Andrews said of his meeting with Patton.
Andrews also recalled the time he spent with the artist Pablo Picasso.
“He was one hell of a Frenchman,” Andrews said (Picasso was Spanish). “He and I sat at a bar and we talked for a couple of hours.”
Davis said Andrews is expected to be recognized at the American Legion’s upcoming convention at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center in Ocean City.
Banners of veterans and active duty service members were raised along the Boardwalk from May to October each year since 2014 to celebrate their service to their country.
There were 28 World War II and Korean War veterans, as well as 12 active duty service members from Worcester County from during the May 2 Boardwalk ceremony:
- John J. Alex, corporal, World War II, U.S. Army Air Force
- John Andrews, major, World War II, U.S. Army
- Robert Banks II, master sergeant, U.S. Air Force
- Floyd E. Bassett, corporal, Korea, U.S. Army
- Alan Brittingham, staff sergeant, Korea, U.S. Marine Corps
- Jerome Callahan, private first class, Korea, U.S. Army
- John D. Carrigan, sergeant, World War II and Korea, U.S. Marine Corps
- William M. Clark, CT3, Korea, U.S. Navy
- Thomas Clarke Sr., sergeant, World War II and Korea, U.S. Army
- Upshure E. Coard Jr., specialist, Korea, U.S. Army
- Dave Coffland, FT3, Korea, U.S. Navy
- Ronald W. Hager, sergeant medic, Korea, U.S. Army
- Jack H. Heineman, engineer third class, Korea, U.S. Navy
- William E. Justice III, sergeant, Korea, U.S. Army
- William G. Kelso, ET-2, Korea, U.S. Coast Guard
- Kenneth Lewis, staff sergeant, World War II, U.S. Army, P.O.W.
- Luther “Luke” Loveless, private first class, Korea, U.S. Army National Guard
- Margaret Madden, SK3 V10, World War II, U.S. Naval Reserve
- Larry Moses Moore, seaman, Korea, U.S. Navy
- Bill Nieller, staff sergeant, Korea, U.S. Air Force
- Thomas O’Keefe, corporal, Korea, U.S. Army
- Bill Poust, seaman first class, Korea, U.S. Navy
- Francis Russell, fireman first class,
- World War II, U.S. Navy, Budd Shea, airman first class, U.S.
- Air Force, Murray Smith, radioman, Korea, U.S. Navy
- William J. Stetter, captain, Korea, U.S. Army
- William Whaley, specialist 4, Korea, U.S. Army
- John Whitehead, corporal, World War II
U.S. Army Active Duty:
- Franklin Baker III, private first class, Active Duty, U.S. Marine Corps
- Corey Beckett, airman, Active Duty, U.S. Air Force
- Angelia Cleary, staff sergeant, Active Duty, U.S. Navy
- Shyheim Cousar, airman first class, Active Duty, U.S. Air Force
- Mike Diehl, staff sergeant, Active Duty, U.S. Air Force
- Carl Echols, airman, Active Duty, U.S. Air Force
- Zachary Hall, first lieutenant, Active Duty, U.S. Air Force
- Jared Massey, airman first class, Active Duty, U.S. Air Force
- Markell Pinkett, private first class, Active Duty, U.S. Army
- John Seward, private first class, Active Duty, U.S. Marine Corps
- Seth Woods, private first class, Active Duty, U.S. Marine Corps
- Steven Wright, private first class, Active Duty, U.S. Marine Corps