Auxiliary treats veterans to dinner
NEWTON FALLS — Veterans with the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center in Wade Park received a standing ovation when they arrived recently at the Newton Falls Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3332.
Trumbull County Sheriff’s Deputy Dallas Young led the procession of buses and arranged for the lights and siren escort and U.S. flag salute by the Newton Falls Joint Fire District at the station on Broad Street.
The veterans were greeted first by the fire department, which raised a fire truck ladder high into the air above the road, as they drove by. Newton Falls police Chief Gene Fixler and three police officers followed behind the buses.
The post’s women’s auxiliary President Kelley Brasko and other members greeted the veterans as they got off the bus and entered the VFW Hall for an evening that included dinner, games and gifts. Members of the VFW Post 3332 also greeted the guests.
Julie Smeiles, committee member and historian with the auxiliary, said the idea was developed by Cher Waldorf.
“She took on the project and we held the first dinner in 2016. It was such a success, it has now become an annual event. Planning for the dinner begins as soon as one ends, and the date for the following year is established,” Smeiles said.
In addition, Waldorf made and donated goodie bags and care packages for the veterans.
Sue Morrison, a guard with the auxiliary, sewed 75 lap quilts on a treadle sewing machine. Morrison started after the 2016 dinner so they would be ready for this year’s event.
For the visit, local veterans purchased commissary coupon books for the guests that were used as prizes for the bingo game.
Members of AMVETS 112 volunteered and donated food and items to distribute to veterans. Smeiles said many members of the VFW share affiliations with or are members of the AMVETS and / or American Legion in Newton Falls.
Also volunteering were Newton Falls Honor Society members and the girls soccer team by helping serve meals, with bingo and bagging items for the veterans.