originally published in the Democrat and Chronicle on 10/17/18
By Caurie Putnam
Although Veteran’s Day is a little over a month away, honoring and supporting veterans year-round is a mission of Kelly and Paul McCracken of Sweden.
The couple and their volunteer, event committee — the Patriot Alliance of Western New York — held their third annual Pork for Patriots event on Sept. 29 at McCracken Farms on White Road. A highlight of the music festival was the honoring of three local veterans: Frank Jenkins, Larry Vaughan and Sharon Anderson Chaplin.
All three veterans served in very different times in history and have unique stories I wanted to share with you.
Jenkins is a World War II veteran who left Brockport High School in 1944, before graduating, to enlist in the U.S. Army. He was a member of Company B 49th Armored Infantry where he received multiple accommodations and decorations, including European, African and Middle Eastern Campaign medals.
When he left the service and returned to Brockport he earned his GED, but never received his high school diploma. This August, in a private ceremony with family, he received his high school diploma from the Brockport Central School District. He and his wife Patricia have six children, twelve grandchildren and five greatgrandchildren.
“Frank has not only proven that he is an American patriot, but a hero to his family and friends through his dedication to the country, his community and his family,” said Bob Carroll, vice-president of the Patriot Alliance of Western New York, about why the group chose to honor Jenkins.
Vaughan was recognized for protecting not only his country, but the local community. He was drafted by the U.S. Army in 1969 and served in Vietnam as a member of 1st Armored Cavalry Division. When he left the service he met his wife Barb at a country firefighter’s conference and they married in 1972.
For an impressive fifty-one years, Vaughan has volunteered in fire service throughout Monroe County. He has held positions in the Greece Fire Department and Brockport Fire Department, most recently as a Brockport Fire District Commissioner since 2012.
Chaplin, the final honoree at Pork for Patriots, was recognized for her community outreach about veterans. She joined the U.S. Air Force in 1989, a year after graduating from Caledonia-Mumford High School and spending one year at St. John Fisher College.
She served as a dedicated analyst for the 36th AMU Fighting Falcons at Osan Air Base in South Korea and later reported statistics for a variety of aircraft at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. She was among the few to witness the B2 Stealth Bomber being tested in Eglin’s climate control hanger in 1992.
After leaving the Air Force in 1993, she finished her degree at St. John Fisher College and married her husband Scott in 1998. When their daughter Samantha was in the sixth-grade she was asked to speak to her class about her time in the service and that experience sparked many speaking engagements to follow.
Additionally, Chaplin is a volunteer and guardian for Honor Flight Rochester, member of the American Legion and volunteers with a Vietnam veteran’s re-enactment group.
Proceeds raised from this year’s Pork for Patriots event were donated to Blue Star Mother’s ROC, an organization for parents that have or have had sons and daughters serving in the military and Rochester Community Inclusive Rowing, which offers rowing opportunities for veterans. Each year two different Rochester area non-profits dedicated to supporting veterans are selected to receive the funds raised.
If you have a veteran or organization to suggest for recognition at the 2019 Pork for Patriots event or are interested in serving on the event’s planning committee call (585) 395-0505 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Pick of the Week
Ken Freeman, curator at the Parma Hilton Historical Society Museum, emailed with news about a fun, upcoming fundraiser called Tasting of Apples from 1 to 5 p.m. on Oct. 14 at the Blue Barn Cidery, 928 Manitou Road, in Hilton. The event will benefit the Parma Hilton Historical Society.
Highlights of the event include tastings of a variety of desserts made with apples, displays by the historical society about the important history of apples in Hilton, food trucks and more.
Tickets are $10 and include a pint of cider and dessert tastings. They can be purchased from the museum at 1300 Hilton Parma Corners Road on Sundays from 2 to 4 p.m. or any other time the museum office is open (call (585) 392-9496 before stopping by) or online at Eventbrite.com (search for “A Tasting of Apples”).
Contact Caurie at email@example.com with news from west-side towns. She’s on Twitter at @CauriePutnam and on Facebook at facebook.com/ BrockportBlog/.