On October 13, 2021, Thurmont Grange #409 held its annual Veterans Appreciation Program. Grange member Niki Eyler stated that the Veterans being honored were, “all honorable, upstanding, and respectable members of their families, churches, and communities.”
A special recognition of Veteran and past-Granger, Ralph Fornwald, was given by Cheryl Lenhart. Ralph was born August 30, 1924, the son of Charles and Hilda Fornwald. The Fornwald family moved to Thurmont when Ralph was 12 years old. He graduated from Thurmont High School in 1942, where he served as vice president of the graduating class. Not even a year after graduation, Ralph joined the Navy on March 10, 1943, serving until July 19, 1946, as Hospital Apprentice First Class. During his service, Ralph was awarded the WWII Victory Medal, the American Theatre Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal. After his military service, Ralph became involved in his church and community. He was a member of Graceham Moravian Church, AMVETS Post 7, Thurmont American Legion Post 168, and Thurmont Grange #409. He also served on the Thurmont Library Board and Thurmont Park Commission. Ralph retired from NIH, and after retirement, worked at Jubilee in Thurmont. He enjoyed gardening and fishing.
In addition to this special recognition, Thurmont Grange will honor Ralph with a banner in the Thurmont Military Banner Program, sponsored by the Thurmont Lions Club. Also, members of Scout Troup 270 folded the American flag and presented it to Ralph’s children, Beverly Weddle, Debbie Fornwald, and Doug Fornwald in honor of Ralph’s service to our country.
The guest speaker for the evening was Priscilla Rall, who spoke of her involvement in the Frederick County Veterans History Project, which is a partner in the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. Priscilla started volunteering with the Veterans History Project in 2004 and was director for the last five years. Over the past 15 years, she has interviewed 120 Veterans, including Russ Delauter, one of the evening’s honorees. The interviews are video recorded and housed at the Library of Congress along with photographs, letters and diaries of veterans.
The evening’s Veteran recognition began with a roll call of those honored at the Grange’s previous programs. Those named were Frederick Tresselt, Robert Remsberg, Ralph Fornwald, Joseph G. Eyler, Raymond Ediger, John Hart, Joseph Moser, Russell Moser, Robert Wiles, William Zentz, Douglas Zimmerman, Larry Clabaugh, Maurice Wiles, Bryan Umberger, Alton Hoopengardner, Ed Gravatt, Raymond Long, Valeria Kilby, James Kilby, and Wayne Wireman.
Next, the evenings honorees were called: Carie Stafford (Air Force 91-05), Ed Superczynski (Navy 61-66), Pete Knill (Navy Seabee 76-82), Russ Delauter (Army 48-52), Bruce Rice (Army 75-00), Ken Angleberger (Army 52-54), Felicia Albert (Navy 75-95), Frankie Valentine (Navy 51-55), and Bernard Hobbs (Army National Guard 76-15). Honorees were met with a round of applause in appreciation of their selfless service in the United States Armed Forces.
Lastly, a moment of silence was observed for recently-departed Grange member and Air Force veteran, Joseph G. Eyler, as well as those who had lost their lives defending our country. Before parting for the evening, those in attendance enjoyed refreshments and fellowship. If you are interested in joining Thurmont Grange, please contact Rodman Myers at 301-606-9221.
Thurmont Grange Veterans Night: Honorees are (from left) Carie Stafford, Frankie Valentine, Ed Supersynski, Pete Knill, Russ Delauter, Bruce Rice, Felicia Albert, and Bernard Hobbs, with presernter Niki Eyler.