Guardians rec­og­nize ‘ex­tra­or­di­nary sup­port’ from vol­un­teers

The Advance of Bucks County - - FRONT PAGE - By Petra Ch­es­ner Sch­lat­ter

BRIS­TOL TOWN­SHIP – The duardians of the Na­tional Ceme­tery rec­og­nized “the ex­tra­or­di­nary sup­port” it re­ceives from the com­mu­nity and its vol­un­teers dur­ing its third an­niver­sary sol­un­teer Awards Din­ner on Jan. 1T at Kings Cater­ers in Bris­tol Town­ship.

More than 200 peo­ple at­tended the event, marked by pa­tri­o­tism and rev­er­ence for one an­other.

The duardians pro­vide mil­i­tary funeral hon­ors, in­clud­ing the play­ing of Taps, and WKH IROGLnJ DnG SUHVHnWLnJ RI WKH flDJ WR WKH next of kin at the Washington Cross­ing Na­tional Ceme­tery.

They also pro­vide the ad­di­tional honor RI fiULnJ WKH ULflH VDOuWH YROOHyV WKDW SUHcede Taps.

“Many peo­ple have contributed of their time, money and in­tan­gi­ble re­sources,” said An­to­nio Al­bano, the pres­i­dent of the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Al­bano presided as numer­ous awards were given, in­clud­ing the Joseph Ho­gan – Ea­gle sol­un­teer Award to duardian John “Jack” Jami­son.

“I never sus­pected I would be hon­ored by my fel­low duardians,” Jami­son said. “I am ab­so­lutely thrilled to death. I was blown away!”

In ad­di­tion to serv­ing as a mem­ber of the honor guard, Jami­son has for 45 years por­trayed one of den. de­orge Washington’s men at the an­nual Cross­ing re-enactment on Christ­mas Day.

He has been ac­tive in the Boy Scouts for 50 years, serves on the board of the Bucks County Chil­dren and Youth, and Bucks for Kids, which raises funds for fos­ter chil­dren.

Jami­son is a mem­ber of Amer­i­can Le­gion Post 210 in Doylestown and is in- volved with the Plum­stead Town­ship seter­ans Com­mit­tee.

An­other award-win­ner was Joe Ho­gan, who re­ceived the Fred Cald­well – Num­ber One Award. Ho­gan led the ef­fort to raise funds for Wreaths Across Amer­ica. Through the or­ga­ni­za­tion, wreaths with red bows are placed at Christ­mas­time on tomb­stones at the ceme­tery.

“We just con­tin­u­ously raised money to sup­port them this year,” he said upon re­ceiv­ing the award.

Ho­gan shared that rais­ing funds for Wreaths Across Amer­ica helped him to deal with the grief he en­dures since his wife passed away of can­cer.

“Ev­ery­one in here made this a com­plete success once again,” he said. “Thank you very much. I am very proud of ev­ery­one in the honor guard. Hoorah!”

Other awardees were Eu­gene Har­ris who re­ceived the John “dunny” Sandie – dun­nery Sergeant Award. Jeri Lewis was pre­sented with the Ex­cep­tional Ser­vice Award.

Re­ceiv­ing the Ceme­tery sol­un­teers Recog­ni­tion award was dina Ac­cardo, ad­minLVWUDWLYH RI­fiFHU DW WKH FHPHWHUy.

The re­cip­i­ent of the Cor­po­rate Spon­sor of the Year Award was McCaf­ferty Ford.

The seter­ans Or­ga­ni­za­tion Award was pre­sented to the Marine Corps League Pa­triot De­tach­ment 1230.

Al­bano in­tro­duced the key­note speaker, Steve Muro, un­der­sec­re­tary for Me­mo­rial Af­fairs, Na­tional Ceme­tery Ad­min­is­tra­tion in the r.S. De­part­ment of seter­ans Af­fairs.

“7KLV JHnWOHPDn LV RnH RI WKH finHVW friends that the veteran has ever known in the rnited States,” he said.

Muro has spent his en­tire ca­reer with the Na­tional Ceme­tery Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“It is al­ways a plea­sure to come back to

Penn­syl­va­nia – es­pe­cially to the Washington Cross­ing area,” he said. “We spent many nights here be­fore we broke ground try­ing to con­vince those that were not con­vinced that the ceme­tery needed to be here.”

Muro said, “There’s no way NCA could do it alone with­out the sup­port of the vol­un­teers … There’s not enough words to thank you for the amount of hours that you pro­vided to have ser­vices here for our veter­ans.”

He said that 64 vol­un­teers pro­vided more than 16,800 hours last year. “That’s won­der­ful!”

The duardians saved the fed­eral government A630,000 in one year.

Muro said he calls the Washington Cross­ing Na­tional Ceme­tery “a garden of stone and the stones grow day in and day out as we lose our loved ones.”

One of the at­ten­dees was Joseph Bizza, who was given the Pur­ple Heart for his ser­vice in France dur­ing WWII. The r.S. Army tank that he was in was blown up by the Nazis.

Bizza is a mem­ber of Chap­ter 11T of the DAs (Dis­abled Amer­i­can seter­ans).

“We went to Nor­mandy Beach af­ter DDay,” he re­called. “I was in the hospi­tal for 11 months, in­clud­ing re­hab. I had burns and shrap­nel wounds.”

7KHUH wHUH fivH PHn Ln D WDnN. “2nH RI WKH fel­lows was killed, but the rest of us got out wounded,” Bizza said.

He at­tended the din­ner with his wife, He­len.

“7KLV LV WKH fiUVW yHDU IRU uV,” KH VDLG. “, never ex­pected any­thing like this.”

Photo by Petra Ch­es­ner Sch­lat­ter

John “Jack” Jami­son, left, was given the Joseph Ho­gan - Ea­gle Vol­un­teer Award. He is pic­tured with An­to­nio Al­bano, cen­ter, and Gabriel Mas­cio.

Pho­tos by Petra Ch­es­ner Sch­lat­ter

Mem­bers of the U.S. Marines and the Marine Corps League at­tended the an­nual din­ner of The Guardians of the Na­tional Ceme­tery. Pic­tured, from left, are: Sgt. Dan He­flin, L. Cpl. Pete Palestina, Sgt. Randy Thomas, Sgt. Sean Ours and S/Sgt. Ge­orge Kelly.

From left, are: An­to­nio Al­bano, pres­i­dent of the Guardians of the Na­tional Ceme­tery; Fred Cald­well, Guardian and WWII veteran; and Rep. Scott Petri. They talked at the Third An­niver­sary of the Guardians of the Na­tional Ceme­tery in Bris­tol Town­ship.

One of the at­ten­dees was Joseph Bizza, who was wounded in France dur­ing WWII.

Photo by Petra Ch­es­ner Sch­lat­ter

Tif­fany Pao sings The Na­tional An­them.

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