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Mark Sumner Highlighted in Documentary



The screening will be held at the Seymour Center on Friday, December 18, 2015 from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM (EST). The Seymour Center is located at 2551 Homestead Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27516


Nearly seven decades after landing on the Normandy coastline on June 6, 1944 with the aim to liberate France, two veterans returned to those same beaches. Rather than fighting the entrenched German army, these two 92-year old men found nearly 100,000 waving flags and clapping hands of support. As world leaders took the stage to articulate their appreciation and awe at the achievement of that day, both men sat in wheelchairs squeezing the hands of current servicemen, sharing tokens of faith and thanks, and praising the next generation of young people.


This story follows the efforts and dedication of two generations of young people – the men who fought in service of our country on the beaches of Normandy in 1944, and the students who created the opportunity for them to return 70 years later. Please join us in celebrating this story of unparalleled bravery and service at the debut screening of “Wait Until the Kids See This!”: Service and Learning from North Carolina to Normandy – and how we can transfer these lessons to learning and classrooms today. Attend Event This project was possible due to the generous support of the Oak Foundation.


Sign up now to reserve a seat.  Just click on Attend Event button.


World War II Vets to Normandy  0

Our local high school students are busier than ever working on their project to take two veterans to Normandy for eight days.  Our very own Mark Sumner is one of the two.
We checked in with the students and this is what we found out.
“We are still short of making our $6,000 goal to take Mark and Ed to Normandy.” said Robin McMahon.  They need our help and the help of our community.  So, if you are reading this, share it with everyone you know.  Let them know that June 6 is just a few weeks away!  Mark Sumner and Ed Chappell will be on their way before then, with the help of the Chapel Hill community.
This writer can think of no other local project that benefits not only our veterans, but also gives local students a chance to show Americanism is alive and well in our schools.  This is the 7oth commemoration ceremony and it is the final ceremony at Normandy.
Robin McMahon also said that these high school students are driven to honor the sacrifice of all veterans.  Learn more
Their project made the front page of the Durham Herald-Sun!  Read story
The students still need about $5,000 to meet their goal of taking two World War II veterans and a family member for each to the D-Day commemoration services in Normandy to honor their service.
Here is how you can DONATE through a non-profit educational organization:

Public School Foundation: Chapel Hill-Carrboro Public School Foundation is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization.  Donors will receive a tax receipt for their contributions.

Your check can be made out to the Public School Foundation / NC  to Normandy and sent to :
  • Public School Foundation
  • PO Box 877
  • Carrboro, NC 27510
  • Attn: NC to Normandy
or you can donate online by going to this website:
  • click the green button to donate
  • fill in the 7th line with NC to Normandy; looks like this:
I want to make a contribution to the following: $
and we will send you a thank you note once it is processed.

Senior Center Honors Local Veterans  0

From the Chapel Hill Seymour Center comes: A Veteran’s Affair: Wall of Honor New Recipients and Reception

If you have not seen the center’s Wall of Honor designated to honor veteran participants of the Seymour Center and Central Orange Senior Center, stop by and check it out!

The wall is not only a way expressing community gratitude to those who served our Country, it enables other participants and visitors who frequent the Center to appreciate and learn more about their peers.  Current honorees on the wall are Russell Blackwell, Thomas Hackney, Wayne Hung, Richard Tofte, Peter O’Grady, Johnnie Johnson, Charles Alston, and Roy Henry Gore.

On Monday, June 30th,  at 10:30 a.m. the center will recognize eight new honorees. They are: Joseph Acciarito, Jr., Nicholas Terrell, Clyde D. Perry, Jeppie Foushee, Lewis Atwater, John Dossett, Walter Mack and Joan Shevlin. There will be a small reception and a time for personal reflections.

For more information, contact: Cydnee Sims at the Seymour Center.



Winning Your Wings  0

Have you ever thought about what our Greatest Generation went through?  Young men and women were coming out of the Great Depression.  It was hard times for all and then all hell started breaking loose in Europe.  Our men were just graduating from high school and some were bound for college as Pearl Harbor was attacked.  We were already preparing for war by supporting England as it was being attacked.  More was needed and fast.

Jimmy Stewart was asked to made a short recruiting movie for director  John Huston.  It was a plea to young men to join the Army Air Corps.  Thousands of planes were being constructed a month and many more were coming.  They needed crews and pilots.  That was Jimmy’s job.  He was in the Air Corps already.  Here is his invitation.  It will give you a glimpse at what these brave men and women had to do.  Their sacrifices led to victory.

Listen to Jimmy talk about what these future Air Corps crews would gain from their service.  They would learn teamwork, gain skills for the future, and more.  This they did and soon most of them returned and started their families or returned to college.  Many of them joined the Veterans of Foreign Wars and many returned to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Thank You, VFW!  0

We were visited by students from East Chapel Hill High School last month.  They are returning to Normandy for a second visit and a chance to participate in the 70th D-Day Commemoration ceremony at the American Cemetery.  This is the final formal event for the series that has been continuous for 70 years.

donation II
Post Commander Richard Rawling presents a check for $500.

They returned to the post this week to thank us for our support and to receive a check from the post.  The students arrived excited and motivated.  They were surprised about and most appreciative of our Post’s support.

The teens arrived with a bucket of fried chicken and a large sheet cake to say “Thanks.”   They also gave us an update on the status of their project.

They were able to generate funding for travel of each of the six students, raised over $1,500 through a student fundraiser, interviewed a few veterans who are candidates for travel with their group with them as their escort, have contacted other groups for support, and have been working with the French Consulate for additional support.  Ms. Robin McMahan stated that our early support and enthusiastic support made a big difference.  As a veterans group, our financial and moral support helped a lot to create team excitement.

Richard Rawling, Post 9100 Commander, presented the students with a check for $500.

The students also mentioned that they wrote a letter to the editor of the Chapel Hill News (News & Observer).  In part it said,

  • “Thank You, VFW!  We wish to publicly give our thanks to VFW Post 9100 in Chapel Hill.  …  We recently had the privilege of sharing our mission with the VFW Post 9100 C.V. Cummings Post while also learning about some of the sacrifices made by these veterans for our country.  The VFW Post 9100 members also made a very generous financial contribution toward our project, while also sharing their stories and experiences which have helped us get a more robust view of the brave men and women around us.”   It appeared in the March 9, 2014 edition of Chapel Hill News.  Read the complete letter at Chapel Hill News.
Making a difference in our town!
Making a difference in our town!

The students did more than promote their program.  They motivated and encouraged our post members.  Through them, we could see that our efforts within the community are continuing to make a difference.  Our efforts are working and our town is a better place because we–The Veterans of Foreign Wars–are here promoting veterans programs, supporting veterans, and are working to promote patriotism in our town and schools.

Learn more by visiting the students’ project website at:

Chapel Hill Teens Return to Normandy  0

A Chapel Hill Middle School French language teacher brought language to life by taking a group of eighth grade students to France and the beaches of Normandy.  We found out about her project this year as she prepares to take a group of East Chapel Hill High School students back to France for the 70th and final annual commemoration ceremony at the American Cemetery in Normandy.
Students share an evening with Post vets
Students share an evening with Post vets

Here is part of her story as she shared the goals of this year’s project.  “I am a middle school teacher in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, who has traveled to the American Cemetery in Normandy with thirty students since 2009. My students stay with families in Liege, Belgium, but an important piece of history, sacrifice and honor, is best learned when they walk Omaha Beach, visit the American Cemetery, and imagine the effects of war at Pointe du Hoc.  While in Belgium, my students also visit Henri Chapelle  and discuss the impact of WWII in French with their host families.

A group of six students, who are now juniors in high school ( 17 years old), would like to return to Normandy and volunteer to help with the 70th D-Day celebration. They are students who traveled with me in 2011 and who have a deep interest in honoring our veterans. These incredible young people  have had relatives and close friends fight in WWII and another hopes to be a history teacher and travel abroad with students.  All these students are doing very well in school, have achieved numerous honors and speak French well. Would you have any opportunities for them to volunteer for this event?” Robin McMahon,French teacher/ Smith Middle School, Chapel Hill, NC.
The students were invited to our post dinner meeting in February and they were greeted and welcomed by veterans from all conflicts going back to World War II.  They met an Iwo Jima survivor, an Army Scout from the the Battle of the Bulge, Korean War vets, Vietnam Vets, Iraqi Freedom vets and more.  They shared their project and our vets shared some of their experiences, life stories, and what they do now.  They were eager listeners and so were we.
Our army scout  and Battle of the Bulge survivor is Mark Sumner.  Mark was awarded the French Legion of Honour in 2008.  He is also a candidate to join the students as their guest to France where he will be able to attend the commemorative ceremonies.  The students are raising funds so that they can take several D-Day participants with them, to include some veterans who fought in France.
These students, and their teacher, touched our hearts and we were honored to be able to assist them with their project.  We donated $500, but we also decided to assist them as they reached out to local businesses and citizens as they told their story and sought financial support.
We will follow the students as they prepare for their journey, travel in France, and create their stories and presentations on return.  We are very proud of these young students.  We hope you are, too.  For more information and to contribute, visit their website at:

Basketball Season Tickets Delivered  0

A beaming Leigh McLeod
A beaming Leigh McLeod

“Ding Dong, Ding”  Our post quartermaster, Marv McWherter, rang the doorbell of an excited and still surprised of our 2013 VFW Tarheel Basketball Raffle.  He was holding two sets of Tarheel basketball tickets for every home game played at the Dean Smith Center after the Duke-UNC home football game (that’s when we hold the drawing).

Marv McWherter wrote, “Leigh McLeod of Carrboro was ecstatic at winning our Tarheel Basketball Season Ticket Raffle. When I dropped off the tickets today she was already attired in the CAROLINA sweatshirt.  One of her children is a student there, and the other, a senior in HS (high school), has applied for the Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy. ”

This year’s winner just happened to be a customer in a store Elmer Hughes went into to solicit support for our program.  “How fortuitous for her!!, ” Marv said.

We don’t hold this raffle each year just to raise a lot of money.  True, we can always use more for our Veteran’s Relief Fund to support our special projects for veterans.  But, we use this annual event to raise the flag, salute veterans, give away VFW Buddy Poppies, create awareness of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, gain new members, and share stories with those who stop at our VFW canopy.

We often get comments about parents, grandparents, and other family members who have served.  They tell their stories of family members in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and other conflicts.  Mention the Marine Corps and the Pacific Campaign and Major Bud Hampton, an Iwo Jima survivor, will stand up and shake their hand and share a personal story.  If they flew during the great war, Elmer Hughes will share his tales of service in the Army Air Corps.  You name the event, we’ll have someone at the ready to brighten their day with a tale or memory that makes them smile and say, “Thank you for your service.”  They also walk away feeling proud of their family’s service to our country.

Yes, we are proud of our time of service and we are proud of our community.  We are also proud and honored to  represent those who can not speak for themselves as they are still serving somewhere, “Over There!”


Veterans Day Post Events  0

We don’t sit around our post home on Veterans Day.  It is a day for the living and celebration of the many and continued contributions of our veterans.

Veterans dayWant to know what is going on in the Chapel Hill area to commemorate Veterans Day?  Just scan through the current news stories on this site.  However, there may be a few more!  We have compile a list of all events for both the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion.  Click here: Veterans Day events 2013

Need to speak to a veteran about anything for a news story? You are invited to visit our Speakers’ Bureau page for people to talk to or interview.

Have a question about Veterans Day?  Visit our national site for more information and news about the VFW.  Click here

Want to help a veteran in need?  Give us a call or email us.

School Honors Vets in Chapel Hill  0

November 12th – St. Thomas More School.  St. Thomas More School has invited Armed Forces personnel and veterans to participate in and be honored at a ceremony at the school on Tuesday, November 12th (the day after Veterans’ Day).  This is a very big event and, as you can see from these photos from 2012, everyone participates.  It is a fun event that will create a few tears as the youngest students hoist Old Glory and salutes our flag.

The students welcome veterans, servicemen, servicewomen, active duty personnel, current and former National Guard personnel, etc.  Those willing to participate would need to arrive at the school between 7:30 and 7:45 a.m. on the 12th.  They plan a brief ceremony indoors followed by a flag raising ceremony outside (weather permitting), then coffee and light refreshments.  It should be over by 8:30 a.m., although a few teachers may be requesting some participants to visit their classrooms.


All post members are encouraged to participate.  The school is located on Fordham Blvd at Mason Farm Road across from the Botanical Gardens. There is a traffic light for ease in access.

The school would appreciate it if you would share this invitation with your friends and neighbors who are veterans and any one else that you think might be interested and willing to participate.  Those willing to participate should please email the program coordinator at

Participants should please send  their name and a brief summary of their military service.  The coordinator needs that information by noon on Friday, November 8th, so that he can forward it to the school.  They need an accurate count to make proper arrangements for the morning activities.

Carolina Game Day Fun  0

Older veterans are active veterans.  Why is that?  Sure, young vets are active too, but older veterans seem to be very active in their communities.

None of them earn a salary, compensation, or special benefits for their work.  They get up early in the morning and head out to visit other veterans, work helping others, fix a vets’ home, visit the sick, and raise money for their churches, schools, local teams, and veterans.


Elmer Hughes on station
Elmer Hughes on station

An each University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill home game you will find a 92 year-old Army Air Corps World War II veteran sitting on a street corner downtown.  “Have a Poppy, Wear a Poppy…  Wear a Buddy Poppy for a Veteran…”  He repeats this over and over again.  No he doesn’t sell them, he just gives them away.  The VFW never sells a Buddy Poppy.  We do, however, pay hospitalized veterans to produce them.


Quite often a gathering from a nearby sorority will see him and the young ladies will gather around him.  Many times they poise for personal pictures.  Elmer Hughes has a ball.  You never see him without a smile.  Come rain or shine he is there.  His reward is the sound made when canister emits the sound of a dollar or two ruffling as it is pushed into the can.   Sometimes it is a $20 bill.

Sitting just across from Elmer, on the other side of the walkway, is his son, Elmer.  He is a veteran who served during Vietnam.  He drives 35 miles to join his dad on game day.  He watches him draw a crowd and just  smiles.  They have a friendly competition and dad seems to always do better.  It must be his smile, his kind word, and or maybe his pleasant voice.


We watch in awe.  We can’t figure it out.  Could it be his fancy western boots?  While we ponder, the girls keep coming, gathering, chatting, and posing with the Buddy Poppy guy.


The Hughes family raised over a thousand dollars for the Chapel Hill Post’s Veterans Assistance Fund last year.  That money put a new roof on a house for an aged Korean War vet and a laptop in the hands of a recent sand box vet as he entered college.  Elmer also motivates our younger veterans to get out and about where they can make a difference.

That’s what we do best–help others.   If you are a returning vet, give the Veterans of Foreign Wars a look.  We need you and our North Carolina veterans need you too.  Give us a look.  Stay awhile.  Maybe you will get a chance to watch Elmer in action on game day.