Major Laurence M. Altenburg (L) and
Charles Riegle, President of Saramana
Chapter, SAR. photo: Billie Lowe
SARASOTA -- A reported 218 people were in attendance at the annual George Washington's Birthday luncheon, which was held noon until three Saturday, 25 February 2012 at the Laurel Oaks Country Club. Hosting the event was the Saramana Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) and assisted by the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) Chapter 759 and DAR Chapters, Allapattah, Manatee, Myakka, Osceola and Sara DeSoto.
The featured speaker was Dr. Richard Swier, who was attired in the dress uniform of a US Army LTC. There were 32 men (Wounded Warriors) and 24 women listed in the program to be honored of which 12 to 15 were attired in military uniform. Many others were dressed in American Legion or VFW uniform or "civies." They were representative of all veterans, both living and dead from the WW II, Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq/Afghanistan conflicts.
Each arrived at the podium, one by one, escorted by JROTC Cadets from Naples, Northport, Sarasota Military Academy or Venice high schools. All passed through a contingent of twelve Saramana Honor Guard in colonial dress uniform, all descendants of the first defenders of American liberty.
Space prohibits inclusion of all citations or biographies, but this writer does recall the following as related by the narrator, Past Saramana President, Harold Crapo, Jr.:
One of the women veterans was the spouse of a Wounded Warrior, so honored at the GWB luncheon in 2011 ~~~
One of the US Marines had been wounded eight times, but completed his mission ~~~
Yet another veteran, had received his Silver Star some 47 years after it had been earned ~~~
Finally, there were two Certificates of Special Congressional Recognition awarded to a family member by Ms. Joan Hansen from the office of US Representative Vern Buchanan ~~~ to: SPC Tamara Marie Becker, USA now serving in Afghanistan ~~~ and to: CPO Brian Robert Bill, USN Seal, deceased ~~~