By Jasmine Willis
WAYLAND – It was a bittersweet night as the legion gathered to remember those they lost.
The Wayland American Legion held a Veterans’ Appreciation Dinner on Nov. 13 for all the veterans.
Holy Family Parish Fr. John Gathenya gave the opening and closing prayers for the supper.
The ceremony included a special award for Kerry Pebble who touched the lives of so many in the community. SAL President Larry Duel said Kerry Pebble was a dear close friend and wanted to present an award to his family.
The Burke Family was also honored with an award for Terry Burke who recently passed away. Terry Burke was a US Air Force Veteran who served from 1990-94. He also served his community in the Springwater and Wayland fire departments. Terry Burke was named Legionnaire of the Year 2021.
John Waldecker and Laura Jones were given the Americanism Award for everything they did honoring the veterans during the Wayland Farmer’s Market.
Kelly Jerome was given the Red, White and Blue award for always showing up for the Wayland Legion Auxiliary events.
Connor and Gregory Mark will be joining the Wayland Honor Guard.
WWII Veteran Theodore Conrad was given an honorable mention for 76 years of service. Korean War Veteran Norbert Lang was given an honorable mention for 61 years of service.
WWII Veteran Teddy Applin Sr. was honored recently for his 100 Year birthday by the Wayland Fire Department.
Bill Burke, Terry’s older brother, said his little brother always had the call to serve.
“He wanted to join the Air Force as soon as he graduated high school. He was known for how he treated his fellow veterans. He always had a drive to serve,” he said. “Terry grew up in Wayland. When he came back from serving his country, he wanted to serve his community. He became a volunteer fireman at the Springwater Fire Department. He was their fire chief at one point. Terry was with the Wayland Fire Department when he passed.”
Waldecker said he was surprised to get such a high honor. He and Laura love to talk to other veterans and share with the community. They both sell American and military flags at the market. They sold hats and key chains as well.
“We love to come down and support this post any way we can. It all circles back into the community. We made some great contacts with people at the market,” he said. “We had two rare American Flags donated to us this year with only 49 stars on them. We are going to look into the history and add it with a thank you to our website. They are in great shape.”
Post Commander Kevin Mark honored all those who served from 30 to 76 years at the legion. Next year will be the Wayland American Legion Post's 100 Year Anniversary.