In Memoriam

I’m sorry to tell you that Adamsville lost a very special lady last week. Barb Saulsbery passed away on May 31 after a two-year battle with cancer.

I’ve known Barb since I was very young. She drove my school bus and her youngest daughter and I were friends.

When I think of Barb I see quilts. She was an expert quilter. I once interviewed her about her quilting passion and ended up writing a devotional and a column about her. During the interview she gave me a tour of her quilting room. She had stacks of beautiful cloth in every imaginable color on shelves that started at waist-level and reached nearly to the ceiling. Picking up random swatches, she folded them artfully so I could see how they fit together like a colorful puzzle.

She entered quilts in the Crawford County and Jamestown Fairs for as long as I can remember, usually winning blue ribbons. Barb had a very good heart. She raffled quilts for Shriners Hospital for Children in Erie.

Barb shared her quilting knowledge with anyone who wanted to learn. She taught quilting classes at Adamsville Presbyterian Church for years. She also taught sewing in 2014 for the Make, Bake, and Create 4-H group of Adamsville. Barb patiently taught my daughter how to properly cut, pin, iron, and sew fabric. She was a skillful teacher.

I hope you’ll join me in praying for the Saulsbery family. Many Atlantic community members will mourn Barb.

I had the privilege of attending Rocky Glen Cemetery’s Memorial Day service. Arden McConnell opened the service with prayer. Odd Fellows Lodge #1128 and Rebekahs conducted the service.

Throughout the ceremony an impressive figure of a man respectfully waited his turn to speak. Colonel Rich Krankota wore his Dress Blue uniform. His shoes shone like obsidian. Badges covered his jacket from the collar line to the pocket. Soldiers in uniform always give me a surge of national pride.

Keynote speaker Colonel Krankota served nearly 33 years in the military. He was deployed to Afghanistan from 2006-07 as the officer in charge of an embedded tactical training team. He currently serves as the director of veteran’s services in Crawford County.

Colonel Krankota asked the audience if there is anything they would be willing to give up for people they don’t even know. When asked why they volunteer, veterans often respond, “If not me, then who?” He compared soldiers to Isaiah volunteering for service as a prophet. When God asked, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” he replied, “Here am I! Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8 NKJV)

Military heroes have the shortest-lived career in any field. Unless you’re family or a close friend of a deceased veteran, Colonel Krankota said, Memorial Day isn’t that significant. If we don’t teach our children the meaning of Memorial Day, they don’t understand. He urged us to respect and remember our military dead, and asked us to envision soldiers’ faces and sacrifices instead of seeing gravestones or monuments.

As a writer I really appreciate a good takeaway from a speech. Colonel Krankota surely had a great clincher. He said only Jesus and the American soldier ever volunteered to die for us: one for our soul and one for our freedom. Well said, Colonel.

Hugh, “Fuzzy” Shields, a 66-year member of the lodge and chairman of the Rocky Glen Cemetery Committee, explained that the Andrew McKee Post of Adamsville used to host the service. The Odd Fellows took over the service when the McKee Post closed. The Odd Fellows still have the original McKee Post Flag and will donate it to the Conneaut Lake Historical Society for display in the near future.

The Odd Fellows placed flags on veterans’ graves in six cemeteries in East and West Fallowfield Townships: Frame, Mushrush, McMunigal, Hartstown, Rocky Glen, and Jackson Cemeteries. A total of 333 veterans from American wars, beginning with the Revolutionary War, are buried in these cemeteries. There is a Persian Gulf War memorial at Rocky Glen Cemetery for a veteran buried overseas.

Adam Owry, for whom Adamsville is named, is a Revolutionary War veteran buried at Rocky Glen. His gravestone is in the eastern most part of the cemetery.

Wilma Ferguson read a poem titled, “Where Have They Gone?” by J. Walsh of Pittsburgh. She asked us to remember our military in our prayers and consider giving gifts to them through Project Support Our Troops, based in Meadville.

She read a letter from a soldier who thanked Support Our Troops for his care package. He said these packages provide essential items that are hard to get overseas and improve troop morale.

I also attended Jamestown’s Memorial Day parade and service. The ceremony began with prayer at the Veteran’s Memorial next to Jamestown Volunteers of Foreign Wars Post #5424. Jamestown High School’s marching band played “The Washington Post” march by John Philip Sousa.

Volunteers of Foreign Wars, Jamestown High School marching band, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Cub Scouts marched in the parade. Mayor Esther McClimans rode down Liberty Street in a Jamestown Police car, and a Jamestown Fire Department truck brought up the rear.

The parade stopped at Staff Sergeant David Veverka Memorial Bridge where the VFW gave a 21-gun salute and Girl Scouts dropped a wreath into Shenango River. A Jamestown trumpeter played “Taps.”

The parade marched on to Park Lawn Cemetery, where keynote speaker Lieutenant Commander Ronald Leary spoke. He cut an impressive figure in his Dress White uniform. He spoke about sacrifice, pointing out that deceased veterans aren’t the only ones to sacrifice. Family and friends sacrifice every time they gather and their military hero is absent. They aren’t there for Thanksgiving dinner. They can’t walk their daughters down the aisle on their wedding day. It’s a life-long sacrifice for their families and friends.

Lieutenant Commander Leary quoted Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address,” reminding us that the living should be devoted to ensuring freedom to all Americans and that our system of government must never die.

He honored the memory of Jamestown’s Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq Wars fatalities, including Staff Sergeant David Veverka and Captain Joshua McClimans.

Girl Scouts placed single carnations in honor of veterans from each American war at the Veteran’s Memorial Flag.

As always, it was a moving and reverent service. The Jamestown VFW deserves a lot of credit for putting on this parade and service every year. I’ve heard older veterans lament that younger veterans don’t march with them. If you’re a veteran, I hope you’ll consider helping them out. Just contact VFW Post #5424 and I’m sure they’ll put you in touch with the right person.

Have a wonderful week. Blessings!