2018 veterans banners sold out quickly at market

By on October 25, 2017

Lee Weit was one of 73 people who signed up Saturday night for the 2018 VFW banner program honoring Ephrata area veterans. Weit’s dad, Leon, was an Army captain who, after active duty in WWII, served as the commanding officer of the Ephrata reserve unit which was headquartered at the old Ephrata Recreation Center on Cloister Avenue. Weit hopes to have his dad’s banner hanging from a light pole in front of the former family store, Weit’s News Agency, on Main Street. Photo by Dick Wanner

On Saturday night, banners honoring 73 of Ephrata’s hometown veterans were offered to the community by the Cocalico Valley Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 3376. Sales began at 4:30 p.m., when the final Whistle Stop Night Market opened for business. Family members brought pictures of their veterans — and sometimes the actual veterans —to the VFW stand to have their photos scanned into a computer by VFW member Dwight MacKenzie.

At 5:20 p.m., according to Amy MacKenzie, just 50 minutes after her husband began his scanning job, all 73 available banners were sold — at $175 each. Amy MacKenzie is the quartermaster and spokeswoman for Post 3376.

The new banners will replace the banners currently hanging throughout downtown, according to MacKenzie. The old banners will be folded carefully and returned to the family members and other sponsors who paid to have them hung in 2015. Those banners are showing signs of wear and tear, and after some deliberation by the borough and the VFW, the decision was made to retire the old banners.

The current banners will be taken down after Veterans Day, which is Nov. 11, and the new banners will be flying by Memorial Day next year.

Proceeds from the banner sales will be used by the VFW to support their work with veterans and current military personnel, a number of youth scholarships, and contributions to community non-profits.

MacKenzie said the veterans to be honored with the 2018 banners include some who began their military service all the way back to 1942 and others who are still on active duty. Although an exact tabulation was not available at press time, MacKenzie said the 2018 banners include at least 18 WWII vets, 11 from the Korean War, and nine from Vietnam.

The group includes at least three Purple Heart recipients and several Bronze Stars.

And this time around there are five female veterans. There were no women in the first round of banners.

While the VFW volunteers spent a frantic 50 minutes signing up banner sponsors, the usual Whistle Stop activities were going full swing, with vendors selling food and merchandise, accompanied by the musical stylings of a Lancaster trio who call themselves Two Pints Shy.

It was the last Night Market of the season, but a new round of monthly markets begins on May 19, continuing on the third Saturday of each month until Oct. 20.

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