Legion honors those with 60-year memberships
ELSA KERSCHNER/TIMES NEWS Donald C. Wassum receives a plaque for 60 years of continuous membership in American Legion Post 16 from Commander Gordon Gianotti.
At the April 9 meeting of the American Legion Allen O. Delke Post 16 of Slatington those members who have continuous membership for 60 years were honored.
Part of the opening of the program was the uncovering by Jr. Vice Commander Jim Gourniak Sr. of the empty POW-MIA chair.
Commander Gordon Giannotti said one mission of the Legion is to gain the freedom of prisoners in all wars and determining where missing-in-action military personnel may be.
The certificate received by the 60-year members reads that it is "issued in grateful appreciation for faithful and dedicated allegiance to the ideals of the American Legion."
Adjutant Mark Queen read the citation: "Donald C. Wassum, a longtime and dedicated member of American Legion Post 16 Department of Pennsylvania, has been certified to have been a member in good standing continuously for 60 years.
"And be it further known that such record of consistent loyalty to the American Legion merits the honor of being cited as an outstanding contributor to the programs of the American Legion."
It was signed by Commander Giannotti, National Commander Fang A Wong and National Adjutant Daniel S. Wheeler.
Wassum was a Navy man. He took basic training at the Great Lakes boot camp and went on to further training at Philadelphia, Memphis and at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station. Wassum served on the CVE 106 Gilbert Island, a small carrier that was an escort ship.
The ship did training in the Caribbean near Cuba and Jamaica. "If a big war broke out we'd have been ready," said Wassum.
During the Korean War he helped deliver 20 aircraft to Yokosuka, Japan.
When he returned home after four years he lived "just up the street" from the Legion Post home and was told he was eligible to join.
In 1964 he was president of the Brothers of the Brush during the Slatington centennial celebration. He worked 39 years for Bell Telephone.
The other two honored members were not present and will receive their plaques at a later date. They are David H. Mosteller and W.C. Gersbach.
"We deem this a fitting time to pay our respects to our departed comrades," said Chaplain David Altrichter as he began a closing prayer.