By Ms. Mary Nolan, Tobyhanna Army DepotNovember 8, 2019
TOBYHANNA, Pennsylvania - President George Washington said, "The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve… shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation."
Team Tobyhanna honored America's veterans during a ceremony in Café 11 on Nov. 7. Hundreds gathered for the patriotic and heartwarming ceremony to hear guest speakers share moving tributes and swap war stories over breakfast. The annual tradition is hosted by the Tobyhanna Army Depot Veterans Council.
This year's program focused on organizations and services available to veterans in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Representatives from local veterans support groups Camp Freedom in Carbondale and Valhalla Veterans Services in Clarks Summit, and World War II Navy veteran, Lawrence Flowers from Pocono Pines, attended the 22nd annual event.
"We try to give veterans every opportunity to get what they need," said David Eisele, who is the Lackawanna County Veteran Affairs Officer in Scranton.
Eisele is a post 9/11 retired Marine and disabled veteran. He has been helping veterans for 15 years and has served in his current role since 2016.
"I wish I had access to services like the ones we have today back when I first got home [from deployment]," said Eisele. "It means the world to me, coming from a military family, to be the director of veteran services for Lackawanna County."
Sandra Connolly, president of the Veterans Resource Coalition (VRC) of Northeastern Pennsylvania, reflected on how having a son who is a combat-disabled veteran has fueled her drive to support all veterans.
"Going through the process to meet my son's needs made me want to help others who may not have a 'tiger mom' at home to fight for them," Connolly said.
At the VRC, Connolly responds to questions about claims, resources and services, and provides access to agencies that may be able to help with other problems or needs.
Kelvin Spencer, president of the Tobyhanna Chapter of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), presented Connolly with a donation for the VRC on behalf of the AUSA.
Following the speakers' presentations, depot Sgt. Maj. Eric Cherry and Jessica Carter, chief of the Production Management Directorate's Sustainment Planning Division, lit the candle on the Missing Man Table. The memorial represents fallen, missing or imprisoned military servicemembers. The table is set with a number of items, the symbolism of each relating to the absence of all men and women who did not return home from military service.
Depot commander Col. John McDonald delivered the closing remarks for the ceremony. "If you're here, you're part of the military, regardless of whether you ever wore the uniform or not," McDonald told the crowd, "and I just want to say thank you for what you do every day to support our warfighters."
For more information about the veterans support organizations and services featured during the ceremony, and those available on post, contact the Tobyhanna Army Depot Veterans Council, (570) 615-7246.