Dinniman: Join Me to Honor Our Veterans on Sept. 24th
WEST CHESTER (September 7, 2016) – In the summer of 2010, Senator Dinniman visited the Medal of Honor Grove, the nation’s oldest memorial site dedicated to Medal of Honor recipients, located off Route 23 in Schuylkill Township. That experience inspired and motivated him to bring together hundreds of local residents, students, veterans, and community members to restore the site and work to ensure that it is maintained in perpetuity.
“I came out to the Grove with my friend, the late Sgt. David Dolby, who received the Medal of Honor for his actions in Vietnam. Sgt. Dolby knew about the Grove and would visit it from time to time,” Dinniman said. “After seeing the condition it was in and hearing rumors of its potential sale to a developer, we both knew we had to do something.”
That autumn, Dinniman worked with the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, which owns the Grove, to organize a massive, three-day cleanup effort. More than 1,000 residents, students, veterans, and community members came out to clean up the 52-acre grove.
In addition, they were joined by three Medal of Honor recipients: Retired Army Sgt. Sammy L. Davis, Retired Army Col. Walter J. Marm, and Retired Marine Corps Maj. Gen. James E. Livingston.
“It was no small task, but we did it and we did it together. The people of Chester County came out in force to stand up for our veterans and they continue to do so,” Dinniman said. “It speaks volumes to the determination, loyalty, and patriotism of our region.
“I was impressed by the hundreds of young people from Downingtown and Phoenixville high schools and the dozens of boy scouts who came out and worked tirelessly to pitch in. It was very much an educational effort in teaching our young people about the importance of civic engagement, public and military service, duty to country, and our nation’s history,” Dinniman added.
As a result of the cleanup, a nonprofit organization, the Friends of the Medal of Honor Grove, was formed to improve, maintain, and preserve the site for perpetuity. The Friends of the Medal of Honor Grove continues to hold cleanup events, raise funds, and work to maintain and enhance the Grove including installing the names of Medal of Honor recipients and improving the site’s accessibility.
Thanks to the leadership of Dinniman and many others, today the Grove remains a unique memorial site where nature and history come together to honor our nation’s greatest heroes. The 52-acre grove is divided into one-acre plots for each state, as well as Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. Each plot features an obelisk and metal plaques set in the ground honoring Medal of Honor recipients dating back to the Civil War.
In addition, Dinniman wrote and spearheaded the passage of legislation to ceremoniously rename the portion of Route 23 that the Grove sits on, the Medal of Honor Grove Highway.
“The Grove is a treasure that Chester Countians are fortunate to have right here in our own backyard,” Dinniman said. “And as a result of our work and the work of the Friends of the Medal of Honor Grove, it has truly become the focal point of veterans gatherings and veterans memorial services in our region.”
On Saturday, September 24 at 10 a.m., Dinniman will be joined by Medal of Honor recipients and officials from the Freedoms Foundation, the Friends of the Medal of Honor Grove, and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission to recognize the 100th Anniversary of World War I, the 75th Anniversary of World War II, and the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War at the Medal of Honor Grove.
The event will also feature Lt. Governor Mike Stack, Pennsylvania Adjutant General Tony Carrelli, Col. Marm and other guest speakers.
“Honoring our veterans is imperative, but we must also continue to work to ensure that all our servicemen and women, past and present, receive all the support they need upon returning home,” Dinniman, a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, said.
In addition to his ongoing efforts at the Medal of Honor Grove, Dinniman continues to lead Pennsylvania in taking on a number of veterans’ issues. He was instrumental in supporting the passage of Act 59 of 2014, which protects the integrity of the Medal of Honor and other military decorations.
He also supports or has co-sponsored legislation to expand the property tax exemption for disabled veterans, and to help ensure the availability of housing for homeless veterans.
Dinniman’s long record of support of veterans includes, but is not limited to, voting for measures to:
- Extend the application deadline for the Persian Gulf Veterans’ Bonus Program (Act 50 of 2016)
- Strengthen the Veterans Trust Fund
- Waive fees for veteran-owned businesses and startups
- Allow employers to adopt a veterans preference in hiring and recruiting
- Ensure that a service member’s military education and training is considered in fulfilling professional licensure or certification requirements (Act 23 of 2015)
- Ensure that a college student’s service is accurately reflected on their transcript when he or she is unable to complete a course due to their military duty (Act 59 of 2014)
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Dinniman for Senate
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Exton, PA 19341