Every year, our Concordia family is proud to celebrate Memorial Day with great dignity. We remember and honor all those who have served and sacrificed, and we are blessed to care for many veterans throughout our system. We have permanent monuments to veterans at many of our locations, and one more was dedicated this Memorial Day: the Concordia Haven Retirement Apartments Veteran Garden.
Concordia residents Herb Schlegel and Rick Alexander worked together to dedicate a garden on campus to Haven veterans. Herb, a Marine Corps veteran with a passion for raising Monarch butterflies, had already been improving the existing garden by planting butterfly-friendly plants and flowers. He wanted to add an honor for veterans to the garden, and he worked with Rick and Haven staff to come up with the best way. They decided to install a memorial plaque that honors all military veterans who live or once lived at the Havens.
“We wanted veterans to have a place here where they know they are thought of,” said Rick. “I think that veterans don’t always get the reassurance that they’re in friendly quarters wherever they go. We wanted this garden to show how veteran-friendly and welcoming Concordia is as a community.”
The garden, located behind the Haven III retirement living community on the Concordia at Cabot campus, features gorgeous flowers, a fish pond and the new plaque that was dedicated at the ceremony. While the plaque was received after its intended Veterans Day 2022 installation date, Herb and Rick thought that Memorial Day would serve as a better day for the outdoor ceremony.
Herb wrote the message on the plaque: “This living garden is dedicated to the men and women of Concordia Haven Apartments, both past and present, who have served in the armed forces of the United States of America. We thank you for your service.”
The dedication ceremony featured remarks from Herb and Rick, as well as another Haven resident and veteran Robert “Dutch” Berberich, who read “I Am Your Flag.” Haven resident and Army veteran Clarence “Bud” Sears brought his 1945 military MB Willys Jeep, and Butler County Veteran Services donated five commemorative flags for permanent display in front of the plaque.
“I’m so proud of this garden and the plaque; it just makes me feel good to acknowledge our veterans’ sacrifices,” Herb said. “I thank everyone who has helped us honor our veterans this way.”
As the garden continues to flourish every year, so will the existing gratitude and honor for our veterans at Concordia. We salute our fallen and give thanks for them on all days, not just Memorial Day.
Check out the photos in the gallery below (click to enlarge), and head over to the Events page of our website for upcoming events this summer at Concordia!
Founded in 1881, Concordia Lutheran Ministries is a faith-based, CARF-accredited Aging Services Network and recipient of the inaugural Pennsylvania Department of Aging Excellence in Quality Care Award. As one of the largest nonprofit senior care providers in the country, the organization serves 50,000 people annually through in-home care and inpatient locations in western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio and Tampa, Florida.
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