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Veterans Celebrate Historic Anniversary at Friendship Village

St. Louis, MO (November 19, 2018) – Residents and staff gathered together at both the Chesterfield and Sunset Hills locations of Friendship Village Senior Living Communities on November 12 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

Each year, Friendship Village hosts a USO-themed dinner around Veterans Day. The event is held to honor and celebrate all residents and staff members that have served our country. It is also a nostalgic evening for those who supported spouses or families while they served.

This year was extra special, not only because of the centennial anniversary but because the event drew a large number of World War II veterans and even a World War II Gold Star wife - Geri Gatewood-Praechter. Geri’s first and second husbands both passed away in WWII.

Another Friendship Village community member, Edwin Putney, had a lot to celebrate. Edwin, who turned 103 this year, served in the Naval Construction Battalion from 1941-1945. Edwin earned the rank of machinist’s mate second class. He took part in the battle of Iwo Jima and had the grim task after the battle of burying the dead. A few years ago, Edwin volunteered to participate in the Veteran’s History Project, a project run by the American Folklife Center to collect, preserve and make accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the reality of war. A copy of his interview discussing his experience in World War II is located in the Library of Congress.

Friendship Village is proud to host the USO dinner and give everyone the chance to thank and celebrate the brave men and women who have made tremendous sacrifices for our country.

In addition to all the community members that have served, Friendship Village would like to thank our staff members that have served as well. Thank you: Cory Sturdevant, facilities services (Marines, corporal E5), Mark Golliday, director of food and beverage (Army / Army Reserves, command sergeant major), Julian L. Stevenson, security guard (Army, E5), Jim Savage, chaplain (Army, captain), Mark Sweet, HVAC tech (Air Force, sergeant), Russell Klein, driver (Army / Army Reserves, specialist), J. Terry Walsh, President / CEO (Army, colonel), David Halbower, carpenter (Marine, corporal), Kourtney Kozal, security (Air Force, airman), and Patrick Hughes, security (Marines, corporal).

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Photo Caption (from left to right): World War II veterans and wives: George Jost, Harry Goettsch, Tony Snyder, Paul Kordsmeier, Geri Gatewood-Praechter, Roy Catalino, Stan Goad, Louise Gowan, Dave Haffner, Warren Bodine, Dan Huelsing, and Bernie Dolan take a minute to pose together.