Color Guard Members: Larry Wilhelm, Kevin Robinson, Terry Gilbert, Norm Burgess, Noel Leduna, and Bill Drake. Not pictured Ted Ruybal. Photos by John Brady
For the past 6 years your Frisco American Legion Post 178 Color Guard has been honored to present the colors opening the Frisco Bowl. This year’s Frisco Bowl was held on December 19, 2023, and featured the UTSA Roadrunners verses Marshall’s Thundering Herd with UTSA winning 35 to 17 marking their first bowl game win in history. Founded in 2017, the Frisco Bowl is an annual NCAA sanctioned post-season Division I Football Bowl Subdivision college bowl game played in Frisco, Texas.
Evergreen wreaths placed at DFW National Cemetery
Every December, since 2014, American Legion Post 178 veterans have gathered with others at Dallas/Fort Worth National Cemetery to “remember our fallen U. S. veterans, honor those who serve, and teach children the value of freedom” by placing wreaths on veterans’ graves.
Nationally, December 16 will mark the 31st National Wreaths Across America (WAA) Day. This year, more than 2.7 million evergreen wreaths will be placed on gravesites at 4,000 locations in the United States and around the world, honoring buried veterans.
American Legion family members have long supported WAA events throughout the country, participating in community events and even leading local efforts. Such is the case for the Chris and Mary Bush family.
Their son, Army Corporal Peter J. Courcy, a Frisco High School graduate, was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2009 and is buried at the DFW National Cemetery. American Legion Post 178 is named for Frisco resident Peter J. Courcy. The Bush family annually supports WAA efforts at the cemetery.
For the nineth consecutive year, American Legion Post 178 participated in the 2023 National Wreaths Across America Day activities at the DFW National Cemetery. Veteran volunteers assisted with the unloading of 4,405 boxes of wreaths on December 15 and the “full coverage” placement of more than 54,500 wreaths on December 16.
Post 178 members will also assist with the removal of wreaths on January 20, 2024. The mission of Wreaths Across America is in part conducted each December with the placement of sponsored veterans’ wreaths on the headstones of those who served our country.
Front Row L-R: Terry Gilbert, Vice Commander, Oratorical Chair, Scarlett Sweckard, Smeet Jaokar, Neha Ramachandran, Kaaviya Shenbaharaman, Ed Reed, Post 178 Commander.
Back Row L-R: Varad Kulkarni, Sankeertana Malakapalli, Dhyana Ramakrishnan, Jyothirmayi Seelam, Rudrani Dutta, Elizan Ramos.
The American Legion Post 178 Oratorical Scholarship Contest had a record number of high school orators participate in its 2023 contest. Four winners were selected from eleven orators, and each received a $500 college scholarship to any college of their choosing. The contest was held at The Grove at Frisco Commons on Saturday, December 9. The four winning orators will now compete at the district contest in Royse City on January 6, 2024, along with other post winners from the 4th District.
Each contestant delivered a prepared oration as well as an oration on a randomly assigned constitutional topic. The four winners selected were Scarlett Sweckard, Smeet Jaokar, Neha Ramachandran, and Kaaviya Shenbaharaman.
The American Legion Oratorical Scholarship Program began in 1938 and encourages high school students to study the U.S. Constitution and improve their public speaking skills. Post 178 annually holds this contest for high school students to develop deeper knowledge and appreciation for the U.S. Constitution. The contest presents an academic speaking challenge that teaches important leadership qualities, the history of our nation’s laws, the ability to think and speak clearly, and an understanding of the duties, responsibilities, rights, and privileges of American citizenship.
(L-R) Post 178 members John Allen, Pete Abene, Tim Schmidt, Ron Bircher, and Marty Martel display banners made by elementary students for the veteran residents.
Peter J Courcy Post 178 has collected and delivered gifts each year since 2014 to the Clyde M. Cosper State Veterans Home in Bonham, Texas. The 152 men and women residents received and enjoyed items that the state does simply not provide.
Little Elm Oak Point and Brent Elementary Schools also collected donations. Jill Harrer, a dyslexia therapist at Brent and daughter of John and Vicki Allen, again led efforts to encourage student donations which included banners and personal letters to veterans written by the students. The Little Elm North Texas Collegiate Academy fifth grade class also donated boxes that included colored t-shirts and blue jeans.
Post 178 and its members donated funds to purchase items which included a Pop-A-Shot Arcade with seven basketball balls and two goals, as well as clothing and personal hygiene items. Donations from Post 178 and Auxiliary Unit 178 amounted to $3,000.
Post 178 members John Allen, Pete Abene, Tim Schmidt, Ron Bircher, and Marty Martel traveled sixty miles on December 4 to deliver seventy boxes of requested items along with more than four hundred home-baked cookies by the Dillingham family. After unloading the boxes of donations, the five Post 178 veterans cooked and served hot dogs and hamburgers for the residents and staff.
Pearl Harbor is a U.S. naval base near Honolulu, Hawaii, that was the scene of a devastating surprise attack by Japanese forces on December 7, 1941. Just before 8 a.m. on that Sunday morning, hundreds of Japanese fighter planes descended on the base, where they managed to destroy or damage nearly 20 American naval vessels, including eight battleships, and over 300 airplanes. More than 2,400 Americans died in the attack, including civilians, and another 1,000 people were wounded. The day after the assault, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan.
Photo Caption: (L-R) Post 178 members Joanne Schumm, Terry Gilbert, Larry Wilhelm, and Ted Ruybal. Photo by Ed Reed.
While participating in Frisco Merry Main Street festivities on Saturday, December 2, 2023, American Legion Post 178 volunteers informed attendees and distributed information about reducing the rate of veteran suicide. The American Legion is leading a nationwide initiative – “Be the One” – to eliminate the stigma related to mental health treatment, and in turn, lower the number of veterans who die by suicide every day.
The number of veterans who die by suicide every day is estimated to be between 17 and 22. The American Legion and its 12,000 posts nationwide have elevated “Be the One” to be its top priority, empowering veterans, servicemembers, their family members, and civilians to act appropriately when a veteran may be at risk. The initiative intends to bring more awareness to the problem while providing resources to those who may be able to help save the life of a veteran.
Post 178 veterans that volunteered at Frisco’s Merry Main Street included Larry Wilhelm, Terry Gilbert, Joanne Schumm, Ted Ruybal, Thor Anderson, Bill Drake, John Stammreich, and Ed Reed.
If you know a veteran who needs immediate help, please refer him/her to the Veterans Crisis Line – Dial 988 then Press 1.