By SHERRY VAN ARSDALL
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Veterans Day is a opportunity to pay tribute. For local veterans Sunday in Middlebury, it was also a time for fellowship.
Several residents of the Robert L. Miller Sr. Veteran’s Center (MVC) for homeless veterans in South Bend joined fellow veterans Sunday at American Legion Post 210 in Middlebury.
“I am extremely thankful the post invited us,” said MVC Director Kent Laudeman, as he sat eating a bowl of ham and bean soup with cornbread at the Legion hall. “There are 16 plus the staff (from MVC) who turned out and I’m tickled with that.”
The director said the invitation for the event came about three weeks ago and he put it on the calendar.
“I told them we are hopping in the van and enjoy the day with Post 210. They (the residents) will have plenty to eat and people to be around,” Laudeman said.
He said two of the veterans attending the event are former residents of the facility, who were able to successfully complete the program.
Robert Worland of South Bend was the first homeless veteran to move out of the facility.
He enjoyed his dinner and getting to know other veterans.
“Most of us (residents) have served in peace time but most of the vets who recognize us have served in combat,” Worland said. “The ones who served in combat are so supportive of us and recognize us the most because we deal with homelessness, substance abuse and chronic mental illness.”
Lucas Humfleet, another resident, said he was overwhelmed by the invitation.
“It’s always good to be recognized but sometimes it’s overwhelming,” Humfleet said. “I’ve got to meet Vietnam and World War II vets. It’s good to know they are still around. They are the real heroes. I served in Desert Storm and I like to compare the technology. It’s an honor for me to meet them.”
There were three World War II veterans that Humfleet met during the event. Harold Moyer, 90, of White Pigeon, Mich., wore his Army medics uniform for the occasion.
“I like to get out and let people know we are still around,” Moyer said, smiling.
The other two veterans included Dean Warstler, 89, of Middlebury, who served in the Army Engineers, and Tom Corson, 85, of Middlebury, who served in the Navy Airforce.
American Legion Post 210 Commander Charlie Hostetler said post members wanted to do something special since Veterans Day was on Sunday this year,
“Usually it’s during the week and it’s hard for people to get off work,” Hostetler said.
The year’s event included dinner, a short talk about the Veterans Center by Laudeman, a drawing for door prizes, a 50/50 drawing and a money-raising contest that pitted the Army and Air Force against the veterans of the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard.
“Whoever wins will have the bragging rights,” Hostetler said, laughing. “All the proceeds will go to the Veterans Center.”