The gift of giving Cocalico loses one of its finest residents
By: LUCY RICCOMINI Review Staff, Staff Writer
Edwin Stricker will be remembered for many reasons.
He was the founder of Operation Cookie, a local campaign to send confections to troops overseas during the holidays; the driving force behind the Veterans Friendship Memorial on the grounds of the Holiday Inn in Denver; an honorary member of the Schoeneck Area Veterans Memorial Association; an active member and former president of the Schoeneck Lions; and a former member and volunteer for the Stiegel Lions. But who he was can be summed up in just a few simple words.
“He was such a giving person,” lamented Stricker’s good friend Rich Beiler.
“He did so much for the veterans and community,” he added.
Stricker dedicated much of his life to honoring and recognizing our servicemen after retiring from 20 years of service in the Air Force. In 1983, Stricker founded Operation Cookie and sent more than two tons of cookies, potato chips, candy and pretzels to 1,800 Marines in Beirut, Lebanon. Donations came from local companies who donated products. Residents often baked homemade goods to send. Stricker’s goal was to make Christmas overseas a little easier for the servicemen of our country.
“We wanted to get the message across that it’s better to give than receive,” Stricker told The Review in 1985 about the organization.
Stricker also took paper down to the Amish schools, where the students made greeting cards that were then sent to troops. As someone who spent time overseas, Stricker understood what it felt like to be away from family, especially during the holidays.
“He told me during the Christmas season, a lot of these guys appreciated things to remind them of home,” said Beiler.
He continued to organize the event for 12 years until 1996, when he turned the reigns over to a local Girl Scout leader.
Stricker received a letter of thanks from Naval Rear Admiral Charles J. Beers Jr. for his effort with Operation Cookie and was honored with the Superior Civilian Service Medal from the Department of the Navy.
Though an active member of the Schoeneck Lions, he could often be found volunteering at the Stiegel Lions Saturday morning breakfasts.
Stricker was also an honorary graduate of the Class of 2003 at Cocalico High School. When he learned his military service entitled him to a high school diploma, principal David A. Davies was happy to reward Stricker with the much-earned diploma.
“He was pretty proud of that graduation,” said Beiler.
The Ephrata Review remembers Stricker for his great accomplishments as well as his carte blanche Letters to the Editor that never sugar-coated his true feeling towards Democrats.
Stricker was also an honorary member of the Schoeneck Area Veterans Memorial Association and joined fellow WW II veterans in breaking ground for the new memorial, which was rededicated in May 2011.
“He was very instrumental in the community,” summed up Beiler. “And he was a very generous man.” More STRICKER, page A11