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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, March 4, 2015

French Legion of Honor Award goes to long-time Lake County resident

Joe DiFranco was presented the French Legion of Honor Award at American Legion Post 214 in Willoughby on Feb. 22.
The 92-year-old received the honor in front of about 80 onlookers. DiFranco was awarded the medal by honorary French Consulate Stephen J. Knerly.
A longtime Lake County resident, DiFranco was a member of the Army’s 862nd Engineer Aviation Battalion during World War II. Serving in France, Belgium and Germany, he earned a Purple Heart for wounds sustained during a Luftwaffe bombing raid.
The barracks he was in took a direct hit, injuring DiFranco and two others, one of whom was trapped under a large beam.
“I don’t know where I got the strength when I lifted that beam,” DiFranco said. All three were seriously injured, but survived the attack.
It took almost a year for the French Legion of Honor Award to be processed. The award from the French government is a tribute to the soldiers who fought to free France from the Axis powers.
In addition to the French Legion of Honor Medal, DiFranco earned the Good Conduct Medal, the Purple Heart, Honorable Service Lapel Button, Expert Army Marksmanship Qualification Badge of the M1 rifle and the World War II Victory Medal.
He is the proud father of Steven DiFranco and Diana Everett and grandfather to John Ours, Adam Ours and Dr. Alice Ours Vitiello.

Honor guard available
American Legion Post 459, 14052 Goodwin St. in Burton has an honor guard available with a few days’ notice to perform a full military funeral service to honor any service man or woman at their passing.
For details call 440-834-8764, please leave a message if no one answers.

Gunny’s Hall Sunday morning breakfast buffet
Gunny’s Hall, 8720 Twinbrook Drive in Mentor, offers a Sunday morning breakfast buffet from 9 a.m. to noon.
Cost is $7.50 with additional menu items at reasonable prices. For details, call 440-974-9380.

Polka dance at Post 7 in Wickliffe
American Legion Post 7, 29919 Euclid Ave. in Wickliffe, will host a polka dance beginning at 6:30 p.m. April 18 at the post home.
Tickets are $25 per person and will include beer, wine and ethnic foods. Patty C & the Guys will play. All are welcome. For details, call 440-585-4191.

SAL offers Lucky Shoots on Saturdays
Sons of the American Legion Post 112, 6671 Middle Ridge Road in Madison, offers Lucky Shoots beginning at 9 a.m. every Saturday through March 14.
Sign-up begins at 9 a.m. and shoots begin at 10 a.m. Full shoots are $30. For details, call the post at 440-428-7893.

Militaria Collectors Show at Lakeland
Lakeland Community College, 7700 Clocktower Drive in Kirtland, will host a Militaria Collectors Show March 20-21 in the main gym.
Admission for the show is $4 for adults and $2 for children. The public is welcome and parking is free. For details, visit or call Dean Becker at the Lakeland Campus Police Department at 440-525-7241.

Willowick post rents hall
American Legion Post 678, 570 E. 328th St. in Willowick, has a banquet hall for rent.
The hall’s capacity is 200 people and it’s ideal for weddings, reception, parties and gatherings. Contact the post for more information at 440-943-9659 or post

Sixth annual fundraiser at Willoughby VFW
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1500, 38295 Pelton Road in Willoughby, will host its sixth annual fundraiser beginning at 6 p.m. March 28 at the post.
Abbey Rodeo will perform at 8 p.m. The event also will feature a 50/50 raffle and sideboards.
Proceeds will benefit VFW Charities.
Tickets are $10 for VFW members and $12 for nonmembers. A special will be offered for membership sign-up. For tickets, call 440-669-3495 or the post at 440-951-9233.

Blessing of the Bikes April 12
American Legion Post 678, 570 E. 328th St. in Willowick, will host a Blessing of the Bikes on April 12.
The parking lot will be open at 10 a.m. with the blessing at noon. There will be vendors, a DJ and food. The public is welcome
For details, call the post home at 440-943-9659.

Fundraiser for Boulevard of 500 Flags
The Boulevard of 500 Flags 2015 annual fundraiser dinner will be 6 to 11 p.m. April 24 at the Patrician Party Center, 33150 Lakeland Blvd. in Eastlake.
Tickets are $35 and include a sit-down dinner with open bar, Chinese auction, door prizes, sideboards and a 50/50 raffle.
To purchase tickets, call Joe Strand at 440-942-9344 or Lois Sbrocco at 440-946-3439.

Junior Girls host chicken Alfredo dinner
The Junior Girls Unit of VFW Post 2595, 570 Liberty St. in Painesville, will host a chicken Alfredo dinner 1 to 3 p.m. March 8 at the post home.
Dinner donation is $7 per person. For details, call 440-354-9090.

European Tour scheduled in May
American Legion Post 214 and Military Historical Tours will host a European tour from May 31 through June 10.
The tour will in Reims, Verdun, Normandy and D-Day Anniversary commemoration at Omaha Beach, American Cemetery and Pointe Du Hoc. For details, call 703-590-1295 or 800-722-9501.

Eastlake post plans corned beef dinners
VFW Post 3863, 33641 Vine St. in Eastlake, will serve a corned beef dinner, sandwiches and Reubens on March 15 and corned beef sandwiches and Reubens on March 17. Hours are noon to 8 p.m.
For details call 440-942-3980.

Willoughby Legion to host St. Patrick’s Day party
American Legion Post 214, 4304 Center St. in Willoughby will host a St. Patrick’s Day party from 5 to 11 p.m. March 14 at the post home.
Reuben or corned beef sandwiches with fries, cole slaw and pickle will be $10. The evening will include sideboards, a 50/50 raffle and door prizes. Please sign up at the post or reserve a spot by calling 440-942-7762 after 3 p.m.

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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