Support Our Military by Purchasing Veteran Made Flags 

By: Paula Green 

On June 14, the United States celebrates Flag Day. There is a reason why this date has historical meaning.  It turns out that on June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress passed a resolution. They decreed that “the flag of the United States would have 13 stripes, alternate red and white, and that the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation. 

Bernard Cigrand, a small-town Wisconsin teacher, originated the idea for an annual flag day, to be celebrated across the country every June 14 beginning in 1885. Flag Day wasn’t officially recognized until President Harry Truman signed it into law in 1949. 

The week of June 14 is designated as “National Flag Week.” During National Flag Week, U.S. citizens are encouraged to fly the American flag. The flag should be displayed on all government buildings.  In addition, some organizations hold parades and events to celebrate our national flag and everything it represents. It’s also a time to remember and honor military men and women who defend our flag and country. 

An awesome way to support our military is to purchase flags handmade by veterans.  Flags of Valor are the largest producer of wooden American flags in the United States. Every flag is handmade by a team of American combat veterans. These brave service members served as far back as the Vietnam War and more recent uprisings in Iraq and Syria. Flags of Valor employ more than 75 veterans and has raised over 41.7 million for veteran charities. For more information, visit www.flagsofvalor.com/collections/wooden-american-flag-made-by-veterans. 

Another veteran-operated facility that manufactures wooden flags, apparel and hand-crafted items is braveamerican.com/collections/wooden-flags. They have a plethora of military things, all made by veterans.  

Veterans Made Works is a company that employs “vets with a passion for carpentry.” Any one of their handmade wooden flags can be custom laser engraved. If you have a quality image, they can engrave it. This veterans group specializes in names, sayings, numbers, emblems and logos. Learn more at veteranmadeny.com/team/. 

If you are in need of a flagpole to hang “Old Glory” then shop at Service First.  The company is owned and operated by Parker McCumber, an OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom) Veteran. Service First is not only veteran-owned, but they also employ many active and reserve service members.  Their flagpoles are designed to withstand the strongest storms and be a fixture at your home or office for decades.  For more info, visit servicefirstproducts.com. 

Flags for Veterans is a flag distributor, and 100% of its products are made in the United States. They make American flags, state flags, military flags, international flags and library flags. They also offer a full line if promotional products and commercial printing. For further details, visit www.flagsforveterans.com/. 

Happy shopping, and display your flag, and show your American pride on June 14 and July 4. 

 Sources: www.history.com/news/what-is-flag-day, www.united-states-flag.com/flag-day-history.html 

Christopher Hulbert Memorial 

 Every fourth Monday in May, we celebrate Memorial Day. It is a special day that commemorates those who have perished serving our country. This month, we honor Butler native USAF Captain Christopher Hulbert, who dedicated his life and time to his family, service members, education, and career. In addition, Hulbert was a loving husband and son who took his own life on January 3, 2019. 

During Hulbert’s time as an Airman, he was deployed to Germany, Africa, Afghanistan (2x), and Kuwait. He received several military awards, including Two Joint Service Commendation medals, an Air Force Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, and an Air Force Achievement Medal. In 2018, Hulbert was bestowed with Air Force Captain of the Year honors. Despite his military accolades, Hulbert suffered from Battlefield and Deployment Trauma, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Traumatic Brain Injury. 

Hulbert’s grieving family established the Christopher Hulbert Memorial in honor of his character, service and integrity. “The mission of our non-profit is to raise awareness and supply information to those suffering from deployment trauma, PTSD, TBI, etc., due to their service to our country,” said Mary Ann Hulbert. “We lost Chris because we were unaware of his suffering. Chris was home in California after his last deployment to Kuwait. We assumed that things were progressing well for him. He was an active reservist in the Air Force and employed as a project manager for the number one drone builder, General Atomics, in California. Chris was awarded Captain of the Year and was two months away from promotion to Major in the Air Force,” Mary Ann said. “It is our goal to raise awareness and support within the communities so that other families do not experience the same fate.” 

The foundation has three events scheduled for this year; one will occur this month. The 1st Annual Christopher Hulbert Memorial 5K Walk/Run will be held at 9:00 a.m., May 21, at Zelienople Community Park, 402 E. Beaver Street. The memorial walk is supported by the American Legion Post in Zelienople. 

On Saturday, July 23, the 3rd Annual Christopher Hulbert Memorial Golf Outing will be held at Black Hawk Golf Course, 644 Blackhawk Road in Beaver Falls. Finally, a Clay Shoot is scheduled for Saturday, October 15, at Lawrence County Sportsman’s Association in Wampum. Details for this event will be upcoming. To register for the 5K Walk in May or the Golf Outing in July, visit https://www.christopherhulbertmemorial.com/ 

“Please visit our website to review postings of articles and upcoming events. We ask that you like and share the information to help with our mission,” Mary Ann said. 

Portions of the proceeds from the three events are used to benefit Stop Soldier Suicide.  Northern Connection magazine salutes USAF Captain Christopher Hulbert for his dedication and service to our country. May he rest in peace. 

By Paula Green 

What’s News – Militarily Speaking  

By Paula Green  

A commemorative military celebration took place on Sunday, March 27, at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum when it held its annual Joseph A. Dugan, Hall of Valor induction ceremony. This commemorative program recognizes Pennsylvania veterans who have received medals for bravery and heroism during times of military conflict. Nine Pittsburgh-area military members who served in branches of the service were honored.  

Those that were recognized include US Air Corps – SSG Theodore Bluey, Distinguished Flying Cross, WWII, US Air Force; MSG William Homer, Distinguished Flying Cross, Korea; COL Robert Sawhill, Silver Star, WWII; US Army; PVT George Huser, Silver Star, WWII; 1SG John Kraemer, Silver Star, Korea; PFC John Krchnavy, Silver Star, WWII; CPT Dennis Mielke, Distinguished Flying  Cross, Vietnam; PVT Victor Sempr, Silver Star, WWII; TSGT Angelo Speggen, Silver Star, WWII. 

Another military celebration was held on Thursday, February 24. Hosanna House Inc. and Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh celebrated the grand opening of the Center for Aviation Technology and Training (CATT) and the Tuskegee Airmen Museum. The updated space creates an opportunity for the Greater Pittsburgh region’s youth to explore the field of aviation and aeronautics through hands-on, informal learning opportunities rooted in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). 

The collaboration has led to the creation of a new museum that is focused on the Tuskegee Airmen. The entire museum is centered on the contributions of black and brown pioneers and leaders in aviation. The opening exhibit Black Wings, American Dreams of Flight, was organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. The exhibit is supplemented by the Tuskegee Airmen Museum’s growing collection of World War II and aviation artifacts, including a pilot’s flight suit and gear, a real propeller and nose cone, autographed items owned by Tuskegee airmen, and other objects and ephemera. 

Over in the South Hills, a rededication of the former Bethel Park VFW flagpole was recently held. The pole was originally installed in 1961. It was located to the right side of Saint Valentine Catholic School. The school is closed, but the Bethel Park Historical Society saved and donated the VFW Flagpole. On Veteran’s Day 2021, the 45-foot flagpole was removed and transported one block away to Bethel Park’s first town high school, built-in 1905. On December 18, 2021, a rededication and complete restoration of the flagpole was held with the Vietnam Veteran’s Inc. Honor Guard and the Marine Honor Guard in attendance. It is now the legal property of Bethel Park Historical Society. 

Escape USS Requin comes to the Carnegie Science Center this spring. Visitors can immerse themselves in a submarine encounter. From 5-7:30 p.m. beginning Friday, April 28, and running thru May 28, the attraction is a new, immersive escape room experience. Between four and eight guests have 60 minutes to work collaboratively to use their deductive reasoning skills to escape the historic USS Requin (SS 481) Radar Picket submarine through puzzles and games. For more information, visit carnegiesciencecenter.org/ or call (412) 237-1641. 

 

  

 

 

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund

National Vietnam War Veterans Day is celebrated each year in the United States on March 29. Since 1973, this momentous day commemorates veterans and their families’ sacrifices during the Vietnam War. 

It was a war that raged on for 20 years, from 1955 to 1975. The war was fought between the North Vietnamese and the South Vietnamese. The north had the support from the communist allies including the Soviet Union and China, while the south had the support of the west with the United States. The main reason why the U.S. got involved in Vietnam was to try and keep communism from spreading around the world. 

There were 58,209 U.S. service members that were killed in the Vietnam War. Unfortunately, our own state was faced with numerous casualties as well. It is reported that 3,150 Pennsylvanians perished as a result of the conflict. Although those veterans are gone, they certainly aren’t forgotten. 

In 2009, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF), in conjunction with the Department of Military Veterans Affairs (DMVA), launched an initiative to honor fallen heroes. First, these two organizations took on a massive search as they began collecting photos of deceased Vietnam veterans. Then, they placed the pictures on a virtual wall where they could be honored from anywhere around the world. 

Amazingly, all 3,150 photos of the Pennsylvanian service members who perished during the war are posted on VVMF’s virtual wall, which can be found at vvfm.org. Although, it took ten years for this portfolio to come together, in 2019, the final elusive photo of the U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Matthew Harris Jr., of Philadelphia was added. 

On November 7, 2021, VVMF began a 3:00 p.m. daily virtual reading of the names of the individuals who died upon that date. The names are read in alphabetical order. These daily readings run on VVMF’s Facebook page, their YouTube channel, and their website at vvmf.org/rotn. The readings will continue to run until November 6. 

Northern Connection magazine salutes and honors all Vietnam War veterans for their service and dedication to our country. 

Friends of the Pittsburgh Fisher House  

Fisher House was founded in 1990 by Zachary Fisher and his wife, Elizabeth. The Fishers saw the need for comfort homes for families of hospitalized military personnel, so they dedicated $20 million to the construction of the facility. 

The first Fisher House opened in 1991 at the National Naval Medical Center (now Walter Reed Medical Center) in Bethesda, Maryland. Today, there are 92 Fisher Houses built by the Fisher House Foundation in collaboration with local VA Healthcare Systems and military bases. Each Fisher House is between seven and 21 suites and can accommodate 16 to 42 family members. They feature a common kitchen, laundry facilities, dining room and living room with a library and toys for children. In addition, Fisher House Foundation ensures that there is no fee to stay at one of their facilities.  

Pittsburgh welcomed their Fisher House on December 4, 2012, and in 2013 the Friends of the Pittsburgh Fisher House (the Friends), a local charitable 501(c)(3) organization, was established to support the Pittsburgh Fisher House. The 10-suite Pittsburgh Fisher House is located on the University Drive campus of VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System in Oakland. The need for family accommodations is so high that a second and larger Pittsburgh Fisher House is currently in the planning stages.  

“The Pittsburgh Fisher House is often over capacity, which is why a second house is needed. When the Pittsburgh Fisher House is full, guests are accommodated at other locations. Still, they do not benefit from the hospitality offered at the House and the shared experiences with others in similar situations. Since opening, the 10-suite Pittsburgh Fisher House has provided 37,455 nights, housed 5,900 families and saved veteran families millions in lodging, parking, food and other necessities. In 2019, the Pittsburgh Fisher House provided 3,852 nights to 1,034 guests, accommodating nearly three times as many families as in 2012 when the House first opened. In November 2021, 65 families stayed at the House and the average stay for that month was seven days. Additionally, there were 20 ‘overflow’ nights when the House was full, and guests were accommodated elsewhere,” said Mary Ellen Austin, Board Vice Chair of Development for the Friends of the Pittsburgh Fisher House.  

The Friends are seeking help for the Capital Campaign to build the second 16-suite Pittsburgh Fisher House. “Currently, because of COVID safety protocols, in-person volunteers are not allowed inside the House, but support can come in many ways. The Friends of the Pittsburgh Fisher House is raising funds through a Capital Campaign, Helping Heroes Heal, to build the second House. The Friends are looking for enthusiastic volunteers to be a part of the Capital Campaign Committee to raise awareness and funds for the second House. We’re always appreciative of donations to the current House, and in-kind contributions can be purchased from our Wish List. We’ve had companies that raise funds through employee participation. We’ve had artists who donate proceeds from the sale of their work. And we’ve had affinity groups including state and local military associations, book clubs, bicycle or motorcycle clubs, or running groups raise funds through special events or rides/races/runs for a purpose. The Friends participate in matching gift programs, Combined Federal Campaigns (CFC), UNITED WAY, Amazon Smile, Network for Good, and other programs. Heather Frantz, the House manager (412) 360-2030, can work with interested volunteers who might want to sponsor a dinner or cater a holiday meal. Gift Cards are appreciated for guests,” Ms. Austin added.   

Groundbreaking for the second Fisher House is slated for 2023, with a projected ribbon-cutting in 2024. For more information on how you can support the Friends of the Pittsburgh Fisher House, visit their website at www.pittsburghfisherhouse.org.