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Larece Galer brings you the latest military news. To submit items for this column or the online listings, send them to: The News-Herald, Attn.: Larece Galer, 7085 Mentor Ave., Willoughby, OH 44094; fax to 440-975-2293; or via email to

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Advertising courage creates suspicion

Alvarez v. United States received very little notice when the United States Supreme Court made its ruling June 28. The political haze of the health care debate pushed other decisions off the front pages.
I make no apologies for taking a month to read the entire opinion. I wanted to be sure I understood what the Supreme Court was saying. The case centered on Xavier Alvarez — “lying was his habit,” according to the Supreme Court ruling — who introduced himself as a retired Marine of 25 years. Alvarez claimed he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and made a point of telling people he had been wounded many times while in the Marine Corps.
He was indicted under the Stolen Valor Act for lying about the Congressional Medal of Honor. He made no financial gains by the lie, he was charged only with lying.
The Supreme Court stated “The Act by its plain terms applies to a false statement made at any time, in any place, to any person.” So would John Wayne have been indicted for lying while playing a military man? According to the act as it stood, the answer would be yes.
The court found the original act too broad. In this society, free speech is at the very heart of our personal rights. I was not in favor of the Klan marching on Skokie in 1977 or the Westboro Baptist Church protesters at military funerals. As an American, I understand that even the most hateful speech is protected and it is one of the freedoms being defended by our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.
The Supreme Court suggested a national database of those who are the legitimate holders of the medals and make it available to the public on the Internet. A database exists at for actions since Sept. 11, 2001.
Several others exist that are sponsored by private entities. A single government-sponsored master list would be a wonderful tool for anyone faced with a braggart.
I have nothing but pity for those who feel they are so inferior that they need to claim courage through a lie. We have plenty of quiet heroes in this country who have the medals, but do not advertise them.

Retraining assistance
There are thousands of veterans signing up for the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program. This Veteran Affairs program is intended to get unemployed veterans ages 35 to 60 retrained and re-employed. Deadline to apply is Sept. 30.
For information, visit

Soldiers storybook program
Storybook for Soldiers is a program sponsored by Kirlin’s Hallmark in partnership with Operation Support Our Troops. Donations are accepted at each Kirlin’s Hallmark location to help send “The Night before Christmas” and “Charlie Brown Christmas” recordable storybooks to deployed soldiers. The books enable the service person to record their voice reading the classic and send them back to their families in time for the holidays
For details visit any Kirlin’s Hallmark or the website at This program runs through Aug. 31.

GIs gather in Burton
A GI Gathering with coffee and doughnuts will be hosted from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Atwood-Mauck Post 459, 14052 Goodwin St. in Burton. For details, call 440-897-2396.

Gunny’s Hall offers dinner selection
Col. J.M. Chambers Foundation “Gunny’s Hall,” at 8720 Twinbrook Drive in Mentor, will host a steak or chicken dinner Saturday  at the hall. Steak dinners will be $15 and chicken dinners $12. Call 440-974-9380 for reservations.

Golf outing to benefit Wounded Warrior
A local event in The World’s Largest Golf Outing is set for 4 p.m. Sunday at Briardale Greens Golf Course in Euclid. Proceeds of the outing will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project and is happening at more than 100 courses nationwide.
Cost is $25 per person, with registration and warm-up at 4 p.m., shotgun start at 5:30 p.m. and awards at 8 p.m. For details or to register, visit

Motor coach trip to 1944
Geauga County Department on Aging will host a motor-coach trip back in time to 1944 on Aug. 18, with a visit to the re-enactment of the beach landing at Normandy performed on the shores of Conneaut.
Cost for the trip is $10 for veterans and/or spouses, nonveterans $35, with space permitting. The bus pickups are scheduled for Chagrin Falls and Chardon senior centers.
For information or for a registration form, call Amber Weinhart at 440-247-8510.

Burton Legion offers steak dinner
American Legion Post 459, 14052 Goodwin St. in Burton, will serve a steak dinner 6 to 8 p.m. on Aug. 18. Tickets are available from any of the post’s members or by calling 440-834-8764 for details.

Red Mill Charity Miniature Golf Outing
The Wags for Warriors program provides service dogs to veterans affected by their combat experience. The dogs are found at local rescue shelters, trained, and matched to veterans at no cost to them. The outing will be $5 per golfer and includes 18 holes of miniature golf between 3 and 7 p.m. Aug. 25. One hundred percent of proceeds will benefit Wags 4 Warriors. For details, call 440-259-4211 or email

To submit items for this column or the online listings, send them to: The News-Herald, Attn.: Larece Galer, 7085 Mentor Ave., Willoughby, OH 44094; fax to 440-975-2293; or via email to

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