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Korean War vets form local organization

August 30, 2007|By MARLO BARNHART

The Korean War has been called the Forgotten War.

Local veterans who served in Korea in the early 1950s - and beyond - say they have felt as if they were out in the cold because there was no local chapter of the Korean War Veterans Association in Washington County.

But that is about to change.

The Frederick, Md., chapter of the Korean War Veterans has formed a partnership with some Washington County Korean War Veterans to help form a new chapter in Hagerstown.

At a recent organizational meeting at the Hagerstown AMVETS on Frederick Street, more than 30 prospective members showed up to hear about representation, hats, pins, dues and meeting times.

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"I came because I wanted to be in a group that applied to me," said Cecil Snyder, a Hagerstown hair stylist who served in Korea in 1958 and 1959 while he was in the U.S. Army.

"I took my basic training and then went overseas," Snyder said. "There wasn't any fighting when I was there but there was a lot of tension."

Snyder said he was immediately interested when he read in the newspaper that the new chapter was forming.

"There was also something set up at the Valley Mall about it," he said.

At the mall, someone took Snyder's name and sent him a letter about joining the chapter that is being formed.

The fledgling chapter has a president, Edward A. Stahl Jr. Other officers include Ned Renner, 1st vice president; W. Winebrenner, 2nd vice president; William L. Bishop, secretary; and Donald A. Smith, treasurer.

These officers were elected at the first meeting in June.

At the August meeting, Howard Patterson agreed to serve as sergeant at arms. The chaplain position was still open.

Stahl said all who signed up to be members and who have paid their dues by the next meeting would be charter members of the new chapter.

That meeting will be at the AMVETS on Tuesday, Sept. 4, at 2 p.m.

Bob Miles of the Frederick chapter said anyone who served for at least 30 days in Korea from the end of World War II until the present is eligible to join.

Additionally, anyone who served anywhere in the world between 1950 and 1955 also is eligible, Miles said.

National dues are $25 a year. Members who are older than 65 can pay a one-time life membership of $150.

For now there will be no local chapter dues until the chapter is official and running smoothly, Stahl said.

"We Korean War veterans felt forgotten here, not even knowing Frederick had a chapter until recently," he said.

Once the group has begun its activities, Stahl said he foresees a lot of military and community services that the members will be able to perform.

For example, "We can do military funeral services," Stahl said.

He noted that there is training for those ceremonial tasks so they are done right.

A name for the new chapter will be chosen at the Sept. 4 meeting, Stahl said.

A suggestion was made to keep it simple, possibly calling the organization the Washington County, Md., Chapter of the Korean War Veterans Association.

ยท Anyone wishing to join can obtain an application at the AMVETS on Frederick Street. Those interested also can also e-mail Stahl at EAS@pa.net or turn out for the Sept. 4 meeting.

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