As we look forward to many holiday celebrations this fall, thoughts will swirl around the word GIFT. Lists will be created, and an extraordinary amount of mental energy will be devoted to the search for the perfect gift for each person. Philanthropic gifts will be made to worthy organizations with heartfelt missions to make the world a better place.
But we cannot forget one special group who found and have given the ultimate gift, that of service to our country – our Veterans. These men and women have given unselfishly for the ideals and principles on which this nation was founded.
On November 11th we celebrate and remember those that made the ultimate sacrifice and gift to preserve our freedom. These brave men and women who left behind loved ones to fight for our country, some never to return. We deeply appreciate everyone who has sacrificed so much for our freedom.
At Clark, we are honored to have more than 60 resident veterans who served and fought when they were called. We are proud to share some of their stories and express our THANKS from the bottom of our hearts to every Armed Forces resident.
Tom was drafted into the Marine Corps after his junior year of college in 1954. From his hometown in Wisconsin to Camp Pendleton to Okinawa, he was trained in combat. Between shore landings and active combat, his reprieve was playing basketball. He joined other Marines to form a team that played against the Navy, Army, and other branches. Through the conflict, they all could come together to peacefully play a sport they love.
Tom and his wife, Donna enjoy living at Clark and being close to their daughter who lives nearby. Tom and Donna are happy to give back to Clark.
Delbert “Del” Crowe graduated from high school and knew that he would be getting drafted, but just didn’t know exactly when. Two years later, in 1943, he was drafted into the Air Force and went to aeronautics school in Telsa, Oklahoma. Del was later stationed in Pueblo, Colorado where he worked as an aircraft mechanic, fixing B-24 bombers. He served from 1943-1946.
Del learned about Clark when his mother-in-law moved there and received excellent care. He served on Clark’s Board of Trustees and volunteered in the foundation office. Not only has Del given of his time to Clark, but he generously supports Clark’s Benevolent Care fund and many other projects and campaigns. Del is glad that he can give back to Clark and know that residents will always be able to call Clark their home.
From 1959 – 1993, Father Theodore “Ted” Sirotko served in the army. After college he was drafted to the Panama Canal, working as military police. Later he went to seminary school and was ordained. Fr. Ted served as an Army battalion chaplain, traveling all over Vietnam to provide spiritual services and take care of the soldiers in the battalion. After Vietnam he traveled to Hawaii and Germany and taught educational conferences for other Army Chaplains.
Through his years of serving in the Army and the Army Reserves, Fr. Ted had his wonderful wife Phyllis by his side. They had four children together. Fr. Ted and his daughter, Maryanne, give back to Clark in support of Benevolent Care. They have also given to other initiatives and given in honor of Phyllis, after her passing last year.
Lynn Francis served as a Rank Lieutenant Commander in the Navy from 1964 – 1967 (in the Reserves from 1968-1982). He served on two aircraft carriers and fought in Vietnam. Lynn is a good friend of Clark; he started the Clark Foundation, has served on the board and is a Heritage Society member. Lynn and his wife Vicki give generously to Clark to Benevolent Care and many other areas.
We are excited to recognize Bob Arbanas, who received an honorary tribute for his service in the Armed Forces from U.S. Representative John Moolenaar! Congratulations, Bob, and thank you for your service!