Volunteers place flags on veterans’ graves


By Beth Kelly, special for Sun News

ROCKY RIVER, Ohio — On Saturday, volunteers joined members of the Lakewood and Rocky River Joint Veterans Council in placing 3,479 American flags on the graves of veterans who have been laid to rest in Lakewood Park Cemetery, 22025 Detroit Road in Rocky River.

According to Richard Healy, Joint Veterans Council Memorial Day Program Director, “the number of honorees is larger than in past years,” so he expected the flag placement to take about 3 hours, depending on the number of volunteers.

The weather was perfect, mid 60 degrees and bright sun, and many veterans, families, citizens, and Rocky River Mayor Pam Bobst were in attendance to distribute the flags.

Volunteers from H2O organization, a Lakewood service learning organization for middle school and high school students arrived by bus to help with the task. H2O (Help-to-others) is a joint effort between the Department of Human Services/Youth and Lakewood City Schools. Through membership in the organization, students learn to build better communities by service to others.

Volunteers were greeted by Healy and assigned a location. Veterans Jules Rewald and Jim Young assisted Healy in passing out pencils and grave site locations. Rewald was an Army commander and he served in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Young, who served in the Army during the Vietnam era, said he usually volunteers with his son who served in Kuwait. Young’s son, still a serviceman, was unable to attend this year.

It was a moving event on a beautiful, peaceful morning. Rocky River resident Marianne Scherry, mother of fallen Marine LCpl Danny Scherry, volunteered along with her sister and brother-in-law, Theresa and John Fox. It has been a family tradition for many years.

Scherry will be the featured speaker at the Memorial Day ceremony Monday at 10 a.m. in front of the Lakewood Park Cemetery mausoleum. Mayor Bobst and Lakewood City Councilwoman-at-Large Cindy Marx will also speak among other dignitaries.

The FOP Lodge #25 Honor Guard along with local Girl and Boy Scout troops will begin the proceedings and there will be performances by the Rocky River High School Band. All are welcome and parking is available at Rocky River Presbyterian Church across the street.

Saturday’s volunteers enjoyed a light lunch at the American Legion Post #451, 19911 Lake Road in Rocky River after the work was complete. The Lakewood and Rocky River Joint Veterans Council is a nonprofit organization consisting of veterans from all major armed service organizations. For more information, contact Memorial Day Program Director Richard Healy at 216-337-0862.