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Homewood vets reminisce

November 12, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

WILLIAMSPORT - Milt Fuchsman had been living at Homewood at Williamsport for five years before he knew he and fellow resident Joe Webb were in the same battle in North Africa during World War II.

"We talk about that often now," said Fuchsman, 81. "It's a memory we share."

With approximately 75 U.S. military veterans living at Homewood, there is a sense of that common bond. But most of the veterans who gathered Tuesday to remember Veterans Day said they rarely talk about the horrors of war.

"Instead, we often tell the funny stories about things that happened to us," said Maury Werth, 86. Werth spent 35 of his first 52 years in the military. He has resided at Homewood since 1987.

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"After attending the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, my first assignment was at Pearl Harbor," Werth said. His ship was hit on Dec. 7, 1941, but did not sink, he said.

Bob Kefauver, who helped organize the Veterans Day program and window display at Homewood, recalled his time serving with U.S. Gen. George S. Patton's Third Army when he was in the Army.

"Before I was drafted, I was a meat cutter in Boonsboro," Kefauver said. Married for 63 years, Kefauver said that back then, his wife, Jean, wrote to him every day.

Jean and Bob Kefauver have lived at Homewood for 15 years.

"For a long time, we didn't know there were other veterans here," Jean Kefauver said. Together she and her husband and others organized the first Veterans Day program in 1995, and it's been an annual event since.

"Today (Nov. 11) is the 59th anniversary of my introduction to war," said Bill Jones, another Homewood resident who attended the ceremonies on Veterans Day. "It was 1944 and the 9th Army was spearheading the drive to the Elbe River in Germany."

A number of the veterans at Homewood are women, and in several cases, both members of a couple served in the military.

"I received the Purple Heart fighting in The Battle of the Bulge during World War II," said Bob Kefauver. His wife wears the medal around her neck on a pendant, displaying it rather than leaving it in a drawer.

Paul Hutchings, a Homewood resident who served as emcee Tuesday, invited all the veterans attending the day's events to take a look at a 1943 Life magazine he saved.

A veteran of World War II and Korea, Hutchings also suggested that all veterans read Tom Brokaw's book "The Greatest Generation" for its stories about World War II and the fight to preserve democracy.

Holly Trostle, Homewood marketing assistant, said the veterans organize their own events.

"We give them the support they need, but they do the rest," she said.

Hutchings said he was proud to fight for his country.

"And it looks like the current generation is, too. God bless them," he said.

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