HomeWashington Twp. NewsA 'life-changing' experience

A ‘life-changing’ experience

Veterans recall service recognized by a council proclamation

Courtesy of Washington Township
“It’s very appropriate that we are not only supporting the veterans, but saluting their families …,” said Councilman Johnson “Jack” Yerkes III at a township council meeting that cited area veterans for their service.

To Peter Amaroso, appreciation for veterans and military members does matter.

“I know some of them came home and some of them got spit on … and treated poorly,” the veteran said during a township council meeting on Dec. 6, where Councilman Johnson “Jack” Yerkes III – liaison to the township Veterans and Senior Affairs Committee – read a proclamation honoring veterans and military families, a first for the township.

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Yerkes presented the proclamation to Amaroso, commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) in the township, and Richard Whittington of the American Legion.

“It’s very appropriate that we are not only supporting the veterans, but saluting their families – parents, spouses, children – who helped along their journey, because most of these veterans didn’t just put in two to four years … some put in 20 to 40 years,” Yerkes noted.

“Our military personnel make personal sacrifices to preserve and protect our freedom and country from all enemies, foreign and domestic,” the proclamation states.

Some 338,012 military veterans currently live in the state, with 2,400 in Washington Township.

“Since 1996, the month of November has been recognized as National Veterans and Military Families Month in recognition of the sacrifice veterans, active duty personnel and their families make while a service member is serving our country,” reads the proclamation.

“It really takes a family to cope with being away and with the stress of war,” Kerkes explained.

“I first went into the Army at 17 right out of high school,” recalled Amaroso, a U.S. Navy and Army veteran. “I served as a medic overseas … It was an experience, and it probably was one of the best experiences I have had in my life, and it made me a better person as I went through life.”

Whittington enlisted one week after graduating from high school.

“I spent my 18th birthday in boot camp,” he related. “A couple years later, I was shipped out to Vietnam and spent 21 months on my first tour (and) 12 months on my second.

“As Pete (Amoroso) said, it’s an experience,” Whittington added. “It’s certainly life changing. You learn things about yourself you never knew you could.”


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