Currently viewing the tag: "Veterans"

We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and was able to spend time with their family.

It seemed really strange not to be able to celebrate our Veterans in a way that we are accustomed to, but hopefully, Veterans were recognized for their service to our country.

December will bring another quiet month to the Legion, as there will not be Breakfast with Santa or a Ham & Turkey Night events. It’s a shame because both have been successful events in the past.

Don’t forget to pay your dues. If you are interested in becoming a member, stop by the Legion (8 Park Lane in Thurmont), and pick up an application.

The Legion will also be closed on Thursday, December 24, and Friday, December 25, in observance of Christmas. Please enjoy this time with your family!

The kitchen remains open Wednesday through Friday, 5:00-8:00 p.m., while the Legion is open.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thurmont American Legion Post 168

Happy Veterans Day!  Who/What is a Veteran?  Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations defines a Veteran as “a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.”

To show our appreciation to our Veterans, if you are a member at Thurmont American Legion, please stop by Post 168 on Wednesday, November 12, between noon-9:00 p.m., to receive a thank you for your service from the Auxiliary. Show your love to our Veterans by wearing a Poppy for the month of November, or all year round! Don’t have a Poppy to wear? We have a fix for that. To pick up your poppy to wear (for a donation to the Veterans), you can stop by Main Street Thurmont (11 Water Street), Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, from noon-4:00 p.m.; Marie’s Beauty Salon (21 Meadow Lane; call 301-271-4551 for hours); or the Thurmont American Legion (8 Park Lane), Monday through Sunday, from noon-11:00 p.m.).

Interested in becoming a Legion member? Thanks to the LEGION Act, we can now have more members: Stop by the Legion and ask for an application to join as a Legion member, Son of a Legion member (SAL), or an Auxiliary member.

The kitchen is open Wednesday through Friday, from 5:00-8:00 p.m. Call to place your order at 301-271-4411 for carryout, or you can eat in our dining area. Remember, you do not need to be a member to enjoy the awesome specials and regular menu items we offer, just follow us on Facebook: The American Legion Post 168. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! Stay safe and healthy.

The Reason I Write About Veterans and Why They Mean So Much to Me

This month’s column was originally featured in the February 2013 issue of The Catoctin Banner.


The picture to the right is me at a young age, posing with my grandfather, Harry Wantz, who is making sure the rifle and I’m holding didn’t fall over. This picture was taken in 1945, while World War II was still being fought. My father, James A. Houck Sr., was somewhere in Germany, serving our country. I hadn’t met him yet, because he was deployed before I was born. I was three years old when I finally got to meet Dad. My mother, her siblings (there were thirteen of them), and her parents told me about Dad and showed me pictures of him. I was told that when he stepped off of the train, I recognized him and ran straight to him.

When I was about three-and-a-half years old, my grandfather Wantz went for a walk in the woods behind his house—as he often did—and sat down on a rock and passed away. This was very hard on me, as he was like a father to me the first three years of my life. He was the one who gave me horsey rides and got down on the floor and played with me, and now he would no longer be in my life. Granddaddy was a railroad mechanic for the railroad that ran through Emmitsburg. Now Granddaddy was gone, and my grandmother Annie (I called her Nanny) was left to raise my aunts and uncles alone. Her son (my uncle), John Joseph Wantz, was in the army, and since he was the oldest, he felt it was his job to now help Nanny raise the family. He asked for a hardship discharge and received one, and he came home to help support his mother and the family. He did a great job of helping the family survive, and the rest of the siblings and their spouses pitched in and helped where they could.

The Korean War broke out around 1951, and two of my uncles—David Bernard Wantz and James Edward Wantz—were old enough and were drafted into the Army to fight in the Korean War. I can still remember my uncle Ed—he was the baby of the family and twelve years older than me—inviting Mom, Dad, Nanny, and me to Fort Indiantown Gap, where he was taking basic training, to watch him graduate. While we were there, he took me to the firing range and let me shoot a rifle. He then treated us to a movie at their post movie theater. That visit made quite an impression on me, and I thought that when I was old enough, I was going to join the army. I had quite a few uncles on my grandmother’s side of the family (Eylers) that gave service to their country in the armed services, and I would enjoy listening to their experiences while serving. I was full of questions; some would provide me with answers, and some did not want to talk about it, and I respected that also. The men on the Houck, Blessing, Grabel, and Frounfelter sides served in the armed services, too. I had plenty of family members to keep me excited about serving our country. I wanted a good education, so I stayed in school until I graduated. I was going to enlist after graduation, but the draft was still in and they called me. So instead of enlisting, I accepted the draft. The day came for my physical exam, and I was on a bus to Fort Hollabird. That day, I came back with probably the biggest disappointment of my life. I was classified 1-Y (in case of emergency only). I asked why, and they said due to high blood pressure. I waited a few months and then tried to enlist, because I was told that even though I was turned down by the draft physical, if I enlisted, they would take me. Well, they didn’t, and that was another great disappointment to me. My brother, Robert Dennis Houck, was drafted into the Army about four or five years later, and served. I have nephews, great nephews, and even a granddaughter who served, or are serving, our country in the military. I now serve the best way I know how: by honoring our military Veterans in print, and by having the privilege of interviewing our armed service heroes and informing our community about their lives. I belong to several Veteran organizations (Sons of AMVETS, Sons of the American Legion, and VFW Auxiliary), and participate in every function for honoring Veterans that I am able to attend. Folks, I hope you enjoy the articles I write about Veterans, as much as I enjoy writing them. I plan to write Veteran stories until I am too senile to control my thoughts (I have been told by a few that I’m already there). I have received a lot of positive feedback about my column, and I appreciate it. So, if you should have any comments (pro or con), send them to The Catoctin Banner, and they will see that I receive them.

God Bless America, God Bless the American Veteran, and God Bless You.

Every year, Veterans from around the nation bike from Arlington, Virginia to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, as a way to build up their community and show their perseverance. Some riders have specialty bikes that allow them to bike even though they have no arms or legs. Tom’s Creek United Methodist Church (UMC) in Emmitsburg started cheering them on a couple of years ago as they passed by on Sunday morning.

This year, the riders asked if Tom’s Creek UMC would be willing to take a deeper step into helping them on their long journey by providing a rest stop along their route with volunteers to help feed and care for them.

So, on April 24, 2016, at approximately 10:00 a.m., Tom’s Creek United Methodist Church will be canceling Sunday School and worship so that they can support the riders and cheer them on. They will also have a blue grass/gospel band coming from Calvert County to play patriotic music as part of the rest stop. Engine #6 from the Vigilant Hose Company will be on-hand with a huge American flag, waving from the tower.

They would like as many people from the surrounding community to come and cheer on these brave warriors, who have protected our nation and now need a boost to let them know their nation appreciates them!

The event is being held at Tom’s Creek UMC Promised Land property (off of Rt. 140, about three miles out from Emmitsburg), located at 10918 Taneytown Pike in Emmitsburg.

For more information about the bike ride organization, visit www.