Taking time to honor veterans

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. James M. Hodgman
  • 55th Wing Public Affairs
A veterans' home near here is home to 112 veterans representing all services, many of whom have combat experience, some of which dates as far back as WWII.

On the third Wednesday of each month, members from here and the Air Force Sergeant's Association Chapter 984 have lunch at the Eastern Nebraska Veterans Home, enjoying friendly conversation and thanking the veterans for their service.

The purpose of the lunches is to spend some time with the heroes of yesterday, to honor them and share fellowship and camaraderie, bridging the gap between service generations, said Senior Master Sgt. Matthew R. Becker, theĀ 55th Maintenance Squadron lead maintenance production superintendent and the AFSA Chapter 984 president.

Sergeant Becker said every visit means a lot to him on a personal and professional level.

"Military people represent less than one percent of the population of the United States," Sergeant Becker said. "I attend because (we) are part of a very exclusive club of American veterans."

Senior Master Sgt. Michael W. Miller Jr., the 55th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron first sergeant, said he shares Sergeant Becker's appreciation for anyone who has served in the military.

"We honor our veterans and share our stories, and they share theirs with us," Sergeant Miller said of the lunches. "Each time I've gone there I feel incredibly honored to have had the opportunity to talk with the residents."

The veterans said they enjoy the lunches as well.

Dennis L. Moon, a veteran from Holdrege, Neb., said interacting with today's service members is a great experience.

Mr. Moon served in the Navy from 1970 to 1972 as a personnelist. He was responsible for taking care of enlisted personnel records, and spent 13 months during the Vietnam War performing a variety of administrative actions.

He said he enjoys every visit, especially when he learns about the technological advancements the military has undertaken throughout the years.

Herman Stanislaw, a veteran from Lynnwood, Neb., said he too enjoys the visits.
Mr. Stanislaw served with the 91st Infantry Division during WWII, and earned a Silver Star for his actions during the war.

Sergeant Becker has visited the ENVH on many occasions and said he's working hard to establish routine visits by other professional organizations. He also highly encourages every member at Offutt Air Force Base to visit the veterans at least once.

"As brothers and sisters in arms, it is our duty, our obligation, to never forget those who laid the foundations of freedom," Sergeant Becker said.