Ce­cil vet­er­ans travel to Statue of Lib­erty

An­nual bus trip honors vets

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By CH­ERYL MATTIX

cmat­tix@ce­cil­whig.com

— Imag­ine a large mo­tor coach filled with Ce­cil County vet­er­ans who are es­corted by Per­ryville Le­gion Rid­ers all the way to the Statue of Lib­erty and El­lis Is­land.

That’s what hap­pened to 56 vet­er­ans who par­tic­i­pated in the sev­enth Honor Bus trip on Oct. 15.

“It was awe­some,” said Chad Spen­gler, who joined the an­nual trip for the first time. “I had never been to the Statute of Lib­erty or El­lis Is­land, so that was great and they treated us so nice it was ter­rific.”

Spen­gler, 43, joined the Army Na­tional Guard in 1991 but was in­jured dur­ing ba­sic train­ing in a hur­ri­cane res­cue op­er­a­tion. When Spen­gler signed up for the trip af­ter see­ing it posted on Face­book, it was al­ready full.

“I was fourth on a wait­ing list and even­tu­ally got called,” he said.

Spen­gler en­joyed it so much, he’s hop­ing to go on the group’s next trip.

The an­nual, or if pos­si­ble, semi-an­nual, trips for vet­er­ans are the idea of Susie Web­ster Camp­bell, a Ch­e­sa­peake City res­i­dent whose grand­fa­ther served in World War II.

Only 12 vet­er­ans at­tended the first Honor Bus trip in 2009 when they vis­ited the World War II Me­mo­rial in Washington, D.C. But now,

NORTH EAST

the trips have grown to nearly 60 vet­er­ans, some new and some re­turn­ing.

“I have about 200 on my mail­ing list now,” Camp­bell said.

Wal­ter Bouchelle, 72, joined the Honor Bus for the first time on the trek to the Statute of Lib­erty.

“It was great weather and I en­joyed be­ing with my fel­low vet­er­ans for my first visit there,” Bouchelle said.

Bouchelle is a U.S. Army vet who served from 1964 to 1968, with three years of that ser­vice in Ger­many. Bouchelle’s fam­ily owned the for­mer Johnie’s Restau­rant in North East.

Pre­vi­ous Honor Bus trips have taken the vet­er­ans to visit the 9/11 Me­mo­rial Mu­seum in New York City, the In­trepid Sea, Air & Space Mu­seum and to sev­eral memo­ri­als in Washington, D.C.

“I want to be able to reach out to more vet­er­ans to of­fer this op­por­tu­nity,” Camp­bell said.

Over the years, she has formed great part­ner­ships with all of the vet­er­ans ser­vice or­ga­ni­za­tions in Ce­cil County, some busi­nesses and the Mil­i­tary Or­der of the Pur­ple Hearts Chap­ter 703, which donate to this ven­ture so that vet­er­ans can en­joy the trips at no cost to them­selves.

Each vet­eran is pro­vided with a T-shirt to com­mem­o­rate the day as well as lunch and din­ner and lots of mem­o­ries.

This year’s donors in­clude: Salute to Vet­er­ans dona­tions, Ch­e­sa­peake City, Pur­ple Hearts Chap­ter 703, North East VFW Post 6027, Bob Webb, City Phar­macy and Per­ryville Amer­i­can Le­gion.

“It’s just a great feel­ing to be able to honor the vet­er­ans,” Camp­bell said.

The vet­er­ans ap­pre­ci­ated be­ing hon­ored as well.

“She stood out­side the bus and thanked each one of us for our ser­vice when we got back,” Bouchelle said. “That meant a lot to me.”

For ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion or to get on the mail­ing list for fu­ture trips, email Camp­bell at ws­camp­bell@ver­i­zon. net.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF SUSIE CAMP­BELL

Ce­cil vet­er­ans pose at Lib­erty Park, N.J., be­fore board­ing a ferry for the Statue of Lib­erty.

Ce­cil vet­er­ans rode a mo­tor coach to visit the Statue of Lib­erty and El­lis Is­land.

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