Atrium Village Salutes Veteran Residents with Honor Wall

Owings Mills, MD – Rosemary Woods has mixed feelings, when she looks back on her enlistment as an X-ray technician in the U.S. Army. But she laughingly recalls certain incidents of camaraderie which helped her navigate her service years.

Air Force vet Robert Evans also made good friends while he was in the service – friends who survived perilous times, thanks to the calendar, and some luck with their overseas assignments.

Robert and Rosemary were among nearly two dozen WWII, Korea and Vietnam-era veterans on hand this afternoon, when the Atrium Village Senior Living Community in Owings Mills kicked off its July 4th celebrations by honoring their resident veterans, with the unveiling of a new Honor Wall and a pinning ceremony.

These 22 men and women who are now well into their golden years – collectively served their country for nearly a century.

William Beverly, Commander of American Legion Post 122, in Randallstown, conducted the pinning ceremony before unveiling the Honor Wall to the grateful vets.

The Honor Wall, which was purposely designed to be a space in transition, currently exhibits portraits and the service branches of 19 of the Atrium community’s veterans. All honorees are vets who served sometime between 1941 -1975.

Among the honorees are:

Teddy Cornish (92); Air Force for 21 years; Korean War

Robert Evans (94); Air Force mechanic for 2 years in WWII and Korean War

Robert Merritt (75); Navy Radioman for 6 years in Vietnam

Ms. Elinor Sims (89); Air Force for 4 years; Korean War and Vietnam

Ms. Rosemary Woods (95); Army X-ray technician for 2 years in Korean War

Randolph Edwards (93) and Leroy Thornton (90); Purple Hearts recipients, served in the Korean War

Bernard Kaufman (96); Navy Radioman for 2 years in WWII

Dr. Jon Belcher (99); Army for 2.5 years in WWII

Marty Zuckerman (95); Army 1st Lieutenant in Korean War

Mervin Auslander (92); Army for 14 years

Honor Wall at Atrium Village (credit Anthony C. Hayes)
The Honor Wall at Atrium Village.

The event also featured a presentation by Jenny Brawley, Program Director of Capital Region Honor Flight, and her associate Mark Brickell — Coordinator of Volunteers at Honor Flight Network.

The parent group (which has already ferried more that 300,000 veterans to D.C. for honor tours) only recently introduced the Capital Region Honor Flight as a hub in the nonprofit organization’s extensive network.

The Capital Region Honor Flight will serve Veterans residing in Maryland, Delaware, and the broader Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. And due to the regional proximity of the D.C. memorials, all Capital Region “flights” will be undertaken in the comfort of chartered tour buses.

As for the cost of these flights to veterans?

Absolutely nothing,” insisted Brickell. “You have already paid for these flights by your service to our country.”

A Wonderful Event

There were smiles all about as the festivities unfolded, and plenty of good-natured ribbing between the varied service branches represented by the Atrium residents. At one point, a jovial Marine asked a Navy vet, “Aren’t you supposed to give me a ride somewhere??”

Honor Wall at Atrium Village Robert Evans (credit Anthony C. Hayes)
Air Force Vet Robert Evans.

Robert Evans – an Air Force ground mechanic, who worked primarily on fueling trucks during his time in the service – told us he was impressed by the efforts he has seen from Atrium Village to uphold the community’s veteran population.

I think everything here is beautiful for the veterans. We SHOULD do whatever we can to honor them. So many severed but didn’t come back. I’m lucky, because I’m standing here today.”

Robert told us his service stint – which occurred between 1947-1951 – actually worked to keep him out of harm’s way.

By the time things were happening in Korea, I was considered a ‘Truman soldier.’ That means I only had a short time remaining on my enlistment – we called ourselves ‘short-timers.’ So it didn’t make sense to ship me off to Korea at that point. Unless I reenlisted, which a number of my friends did. But they all ended up finishing their time in England or Germany. So I guess they were lucky, too.”

Luck must certainly have been on the minds of other attendees today, as the Honor Flight presentation included a slide which noted that some 58,220 U.S. service members died in the Vietnam conflict alone.

Honor Wall Honor Wall at Atrium Village Rosemary Woods (credit Anthony C. Hayes)
Veteran U.S. Army X-ray tech Rosemary Woods.

Rosemary Woods – a Korean-era vet – had already told us, when we spoke with her last fall, that the Korean conflict weighed so heavily on her mother’s mind, that mom had a heart attack from worry over her daughter’s well-being. Luckily, Rosemary spent her overseas duty at a hospital in Germany.

That hospital duty – while arguably “safe” – almost turned deadly, however, for two of Rosemary’s prankster colleagues.

These two came to me one day and said, ‘There’s a man in that room who you need to see.’ I didn’t think anything of it, as it was not unusual for me to see a patient who needed to be X-rayed. So, I went in and was making some small talk, when I noticed the man wasn’t moving. I looked closer, and that’s when I discovered that the man was dead. I turned, and you know, those two fellows who had sent me into the room were standing in the doorway laughing. I said to them, ‘You know, I’m gonna kill you two.’ They meant it all in fun – I was the only girl on the floor at the time. But that’s the sort of dark humor you will find in a hospital setting.”

As for today’s event?

These people (here at the Atrium) are so wonderful. In fact, where I’m living now? You’d better never move me out. They keep you so busy here with things to do. There is always something going on. I was in other nursing homes, that were not the best, so I have moved 3-4 times. My children have told me, ‘Mom, this is your place,’ and I know they are beaming with joy to find me so happy.

I just love this place, and they have my official endorsement.”

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