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Apartment complex honors its Iraqi vets

September 28, 2008|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI

HAGERSTOWN - Rosa Grunthalt is not the sort of property manager who just collects the rent check. She likes to chat and get to know the residents of Kenley Square Apartments, a 96-unit complex in Hagerstown.

Through her chats, Grunthalt noticed that more than a handful of residents had something in common - namely, a history of military service in Iraq.

With Kenley Square Apartments' annual Resident Appreciation Day approaching, Grunthalt came up with an idea to use the event to honor the military personnel who reside there. She said because her son recently retired after 26 years in the Marines, including a tour of duty in Iraq, she is particularly sensitive to the efforts of those who serve in the armed forces.

Kenley Square Apartments honored seven of its residents who have served in Iraq Saturday as part of Resident Appreciation Day.

The complex presented a Kenley Square Veterans Honor Roll plaque engraved with the names of the men, and announced that it had made a $500 donation to the Army Emergency Relief Fund in their names.

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"Jimmy Showe really piqued my interest when he told me he will be leaving for his fourth tour in Iraq. I thought, 'Wow, that's an awful lot to ask of someone,'" Grunthalt said. "That's when I started to conceive of the idea."

Kenley Square resident James Richard Showe III, whom Grunthalt warmheartedly refers to as "Jimmy," was born and raised in Boonsboro and works in Special Operations for the U.S. Navy. Showe, 25, said he served almost 2 1/2 years in Iraq over the course of his first three tours. He will deploy again in January for what he expects will be around eight months. Showe is impassive about his service.

"I don't ever recall being in second grade and saying, 'I want to be a hero and serve four tours in Iraq,'" Showe said. "But I'm up for it. It's just like any other job. You have to be devoted."

Kenley Square resident Justin Roxer's service in the U.S. Army included one tour in Afghanistan and two in Iraq. Roxer, 28, now serves the Pentagon Police Department. Roxer said he didn't realize how many veterans lived in the relatively small Kenley Square neighborhood.

"I just met these guys today," Roxer said. "Maybe we can get together eventually and share, talk about what we've done."

Michael Adams, 24, spent five months in Iraq with the U.S. Air Force. He said being honored as part of Resident Appreciation Day was "really neat." Adams said community support means a great deal to military personnel.

"One time, we got a box filled with letters from elementary school kids," Adams said. "They were hand drawn with glitter. We all picked one. I had one I carried around with me for the rest of my deployment."

Munna Kumar, chief executive officer of Rolling Park Management, which manages Kenley Square Apartments, thanked the men for their service and contributions.

"We want to take the opportunity to honor them and give them respect as members of our community," Kumar said. "I really believe that the community needs to show support to them. They are responsible for our safety and well-being."

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