HARLINGEN — If the light had been green, John and Jean Harth might never have gotten married.
As it was, she was stopped at a red light that night so many years ago when she noticed John in his Navy uniform looking for a ride.
“I did exactly what my daddy told me not to do,” said Jean, now 91.
The sparks flew, but John had just entered the service when the Korean War broke out.
“I was in for three years, but President Truman put another year on it,” he said.
He and Jean laughed good naturedly recalling their earlier years, just as many veterans did yesterday at Golden Palms Retirement Center and Healthcare.
About 35 veterans were honored yesterday through a partnership between CIMA Hospice and Golden Palms.
Veterans were awarded certificates and small pins shaped like U.S. flags as part of the We Honor Veterans, a national hospice provider awareness campaign. That campaign is conducted by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“Golden Palms is one of the facilities that some of our patients reside at,” said Alice Garcia, regional administrator for the CIMA Hospice located in Edinburg.
“We will honor some of our patients that live here as well as Golden Palms’ patients who are veterans,” she said.
One of the honorees was Tom Kilcrease, 95, a veteran of the Battle of Midway in 1942. The battle was a decisive victory for the U.S. resulting in the destruction of four Japanese aircraft carriers and a heavy cruiser. The U.S. lost only one aircraft carrier and a destroyer. That battle is considered a turning point in the war against the Japanese.
Kilcrease appreciated the recognition.
“I am really happy with it,” he said. “My brother had been at Pearl Harbor and he survived.”
As he returned to his seat with his certificate in hand, his friend and fellow honoree Ron Burgamy called out, “Is that for World War I or the War of 1812?”
“Smart—-!” quipped Kilcrease, as everyone laughed.
“He’s my best friend,” Kilcrease said. “With friends like that, who needs enemies?”
SOME OF THE HONORED
Williams G. Phipps
Joseph W. Plomin
Thomas E. Butz
Dennis H. Gamble
Harold J. Gillogly
Lloyd Kenneth Jaeger
Hal W. Kain
James Marcus Wiginton
Jack R. Stevic
Peter G. Tofilon
Jeanette L. Van Tassel
Richard H. “Dick Welch