Methuen Veterans Services: Not Just on November 11 Dewhirst Family Funeral Homes

Dewhirst Family Funeral Homes
Community Connections | Veterans Day 2014
In This Issue
Methuen Veterans Services
Methuen Veterans Services:
Not Just on November 11
Spotlight on Peter Reynolds
NH State Veterans
What is Decoration Day?
Look Back: Traveling
Vietnam Wall Comes to
Rockingham VNA &
Hospice: We Care at Home
FAQ: What Honors are
Available to Veterans When
They Die?
Thomas Hargreaves, Director of Veterans Services for
Methuen, may get more attention as Veteran's Day
approaches, but his office is active year round helping
former service members and their families receive the
benefits they have earned. With a staff of two, Tom helps
applicants fill out paperwork, including forms from the U.S.
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Massachusetts
"Before, During and
After A Loss"
Spotlight on:
Peter Reynolds –
A Many of Many
"I do anything that needs to
be done."
That is how Peter Reynolds
replied when asked, "What do
you do at Dewhirst Family
Funeral Homes?"
legislation has provided services to veterans since the Civil
War, he noted. Services to Methuen's veterans in the last
fiscal year came to $512,000 of which 75% is reimbursed by
the Commonwealth in the following year.
Services are expanded for those who have served in time of
war; those with 180 days of federal service qualify for
benefits. There is some direct financial aid for low-income
veterans, getting help to the truly needy. The goal is to keep
families together.
The Veterans Services office can help many veterans
with education, housing, jobs, burial markers, health
care, and filing for a "welcome home bonus" for those
returning from service during a war. For a first
deployment, the bonus is $1,000 for those in the war zone
and $500 for eligible service members who were deployed
elsewhere. For subsequent tours, the bonuses are halved.
Tom said some veterans are not aware of this benefit, and
his office is happy to help them apply.
Wall of Honor
A project to bring a Wall of Honor to the foyer of City Hall,
recognizing those with ties to Methuen who have died in
Peter explained "I don't stick service to our country, began about four years ago. The first
to a title. I work the funerals,
Methuen soldier killed in action in World War II was Arnold
greet the families, and drive
Greenwood. Three of those honored were family members
when needed ... I also do a bit
of City Councilor-at-Large Joyce Campagnone. The film
of landscaping around the
"Saving Private Ryan" is partially based on the
Campagnone family. To date there are 21 honorees in 19
Rick Dewhirst said, "Peter is pictures; the Campagnone brothers are together in one
photo. While honorees may have served as long ago as
our 'go-to guy' when we need
World War I, Tom doubts the wall will go farther back, but
something done. He can
always be counted on to pitch
"hopefully won't be needed much into the future," he said.
in whatever the need. We are "It's a tough way to get up on a wall."
very fortunate to have him as
part of our team."
The office also provides medal service, helping service
members or survivors apply for replacements of lost
Peter has been
medals. The process, Hargreaves notes, takes a couple of
with Goundrey & Dewhirst
years. The office also provides outreach into the community,
since Robert Goundrey
as with a recent Buddy Build where veterans helped
remodeled an old farmhouse
that became Goundrey Funeral Habitat for Humanity rehab the Saint Patrick's Convent in
Lawrence into housing for needy families.
Home - over fifty years ago Peter works part-time at a job
he sincerely loves. He is
especially passionate about
greeting the families served by
Dewhirst. He says, "Ministry
has been a great part of my life
and helping families in their
time of need is my main
Veterans Day Posters on Display
With Veterans Day approaching, the walls of City Hall are
decorated with posters made by Methuen schoolchildren
honoring those who have served. The number of entries has
been rising, from 63 in 2012 to 112 last year. Winners
receive gift cards and recognition at the December School
purpose, my ministry. I hope I
am a comfort to them; people
thank me for my kindness. But
that has been my life," he
Committee meeting.
Flag Retirement Ceremony
Each year the Methuen veterans have a flag retirement
ceremony, providing a respectful way to destroy damaged
flags. In the week before the event, residents can take their
Peter worked for many
flags to the Veterans Services office in City Hall or drop
years at Rockingham
them at the American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars
Racetrack as a Track
posts. Usually the ceremony takes place on Pearl
Superintendent. He and his
wife Marion, known
Harbor Day, but
affectionately as Kitty to all
since it falls on a
who knew her, were involved in
Saturday this year,
ministering to the employees
the rite will be
on the "backside" of the track.
carried out on
Peter says, "These employees
Monday, December
worked the stables, caring for
8th at noon on the
the horses, and they were the
veterans' lot at the
poorest of the poor."
He and Kitty logged in
20,000 hours each running
the chapel and the food pantry
The most difficult
at Rockingham. They collected
part of his job, said
clothes and furniture for those
Tom, is the passing
who had virtually nothing. They
of older veterans. "In
coordinated dinners twice a
the past month or
week. When the racetrack
so, five vets or family
closed, the horses and those
members we have been helping have died. It's just age,
who cared for them, stopped
coming, so the ministry ended. since they were in their late 70s to early 90s, with service in
World War II or Korea."
At 85 years young, Peter
doesn't want to think about
retiring. He lost his beloved
wife, Kitty, two years ago this
month. His work at Dewhirst
Funeral Home keeps him
going. "Kitty was a very special
person. She was an inspiration
and her memory reminds me
just how important one person
is to another. I wish everyone
would realize that. People.
That is what is important in
That is balanced by knowing he and his staff have helped
veterans in need. "To see veterans turn things
around...that's great. Recently a vet was having difficulty
with his CDL (commercial trucking) license; we got him
school and training, and he now has a job."
Sometimes he refers applicants to the federal VA, but his
office often helps with daunting paperwork. He finds
satisfaction when they no longer need help because things
have improved. "We get them over a rough spot and on
with their lives. We add to their lives."
Memorial Walkway
at NH State
Veterans Cemetery
NH State Veterans Cemetery in
Boscawen Providing a Dignified
Resting Place for All
A source of pride to veterans'
families and residents of NH,
the 104 acres that comprise
the New Hampshire State Veterans Cemetery convey
peace through the beauty of nature.
Located in Boscawen, a small historic town bounded by
the Merrimack and Contoocook Rivers, the State
Veterans Cemetery was the first state cemetery east of
the Mississippi River to allow the interment of nonresident
veterans, in keeping with their mission "To provide and
maintain a dignified final-resting place to honor all
veterans and eligible dependents which expresses the
State's gratitude for their service to the country."
The cemetery is open seven days a week, sunrise to
sunset (administrative offices Monday through Friday 8
am - 4 pm) and provides both traditional burials and
burials of cremated remains for veterans and their
families. Gravesites cannot be reserved in advance;
however, an application form and the required documents
can be submitted, and an eligibility certificate will be
issued to the veteran so that it can be safely stored until
needed. Because the cemetery processes about 15 to 20
applications per week, the pre-application helps to
facilitate the procedure. In the first three months of 2014,
133 veterans or family members were interred.
100 Nights of
Remembrance at NH
State Veterans
Memorial Walkway
A feature of the NH State Veterans Cemetery is the
Memorial Walkway which was inaugurated in 2002 and
has grown to include 65 monuments honoring all five
branches of the service, veterans' organizations, and war
periods. Bricks funded by donations with memorial
inscriptions make up the walkway. A multi-year project is
underway to replace weather-worn and well-trodden
bricks with new ones.
100 Nights of Remembrance
The 100 Nights of Remembrance began on Memorial Day
in 2006 when the Muchachos Drum and Bugle Corps
sounded TAPS in rounds at the 20 white granite
monuments that surround the grand flag at The State
Veterans Cemetery. Commemorating all Americans who
sacrificed and served the country, the 100 nights refers to
the number of days between Memorial Day and
September 11. Each night at 7 pm a bugler plays the
series of 24 solemn notes that are known as TAPS. The
program then continues through the fall, winter, and
spring sounding TAPS every Sunday at 1 pm.
Some of the buglers are professional musicians, some are
amateurs and some have learned to play a bugle or
trumpet just to sound TAPS for this moving and
memorable program.
Visit their website to learn more about the 100 Nights of
Remembrance and to see their video, "The Sounding of
Flags decorate the
graves of veterans on
Memorial Day.
Whether you attend a special ceremony, the internment of
a beloved veteran, or simply go to stroll the grounds for
the beauty and nature that is there, your visit to the NH
State Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen will be a
memorable one.
Back to Top
What is Decoration Day and
How Did it Originate?
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of
remembrance for those who have died in service to our country.
Its name originated from the custom of decorating the graves of
casualties of war with flowers and flags. Memorial Day was officially proclaimed in 1868
by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, and
was first observed on May 30th when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and
Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.
The poet Moina Michael wrote:
We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.
Michael then conceived the idea to wear red poppies on Memorial Day in honor of those
who died serving the nation during war. Now observed on the last Monday in May, the
holiday is often celebrated with cookouts, road races, and concerts. The real meaning of
Memorial Day has for too many, gotten lost in holiday hoopla.
To help remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the "National Moment
of Remembrance" resolution was passed in 2000 which asks that at 3:00 p.m. local
time, all Americans "voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a moment of
remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of
silence or listening to TAPS."
To commemorate this day of remembrance, consider volunteering at a local veterans
organization to help place flags at grave sites or honor the fallen by displaying the
American flag. On Memorial Day, the flag should be hung at half-staff until noon, when it
then should be raised to the top of the staff.
Look Back: Traveling Vietnam Memorial Comes to
Salem - October 15-19, 2014
On the afternoon of Wednesday October 15,
Salem welcomed the Cost of Freedom's
Traveling Wall to Grant Field at Salem High
School on Geremonty Drive. The nearly life-size
replica of Maya Lin's simple yet haunting Vietnam
War Memorial in Washington, DC arrived with a
thunderous motorcycle escort of veterans'
organizations. The exhibit was in place until
Sunday October 19, and the outdoor site was
handicap accessible.
Motorcyclists Honor the Fallen
On October 15, motorcycles escorted the truck transporting the Tribute Wall from
Rockingham Park to Grant Field. All Motorcyclists were welcome to attend. On
October 18th, a Ride-In to Grant Field from Rockingham Park was held for the
Veterans Day Celebration. Again all Motorcyclists were encouraged to join
veterans at the rally points: Laconia, Portsmouth, Epping, Keene/Nashua,
Manchester/Londonderry, Concord and Claremont."
The major groups included in the escorts and motorcycle Ride-Ins are The NH Blue
Reapers, The NH Patriot Guard Riders, NH Rolling Thunder Chapter 2, American
Legion Riders, and Vietnam Veterans Of America; these and other NH veteran groups
will also provide security for the area while the Traveling Wall is in Salem.
Salem's Vietnam Legacy
Salem has a long history of sending men and women to fight for our country. That
service too often involves the ultimate sacrifice of the soldier's life. Within the memory of
many of us, the Vietnam War was an era of great conflict not only in Asia but on the
home front, as supporters and opponents clashed in the media and on the streets.
Unlike those in earlier wars who marched home to parades and acclaim, Vietnam
veterans returned to rancor and abuse. In the ensuing decades, that tide has turned and
dissenters have found reconciliation.
Goundrey & Dewhirst provided funeral services for two soldiers killed in Vietnam: PFC
Robert Bernard Mann and Lance CPL William Nicholas Loomis. "We are honored to
serve the military families," said Rick Dewhirst. "We provide the opportunity for
full military honors at services; we secure veterans' flags from the Veteran's
Administration and we apply for any and all funds that may be available. We try to
find help for all of our honorably discharged veterans."
The four sons of Salem who died in Vietnam are remembered on The Wall, the nation's
memorial to the more than 58,000 men and women who died in Southeast Asia nearly
half a century ago. A trip to our Nation's Capital is no longer necessary to visit these
names and remember their sacrifice. Using the computerized master list, visitors will
find each deceased's name on the wall's panels: Panel 26E, Row 9, Army PFC Robert
Bernard Mann. Panel 26W Row 19, Navy EN3 Thomas Wilfred Gaudet. Panel 12E
Row 20, Army SFC James Norman Finn. Panel 26E Row 66, Marine Lance Cpl
William Nicholas Loomis.
The Cost of Freedom Tribute
There are several Traveling Walls, but the one that came to Salem was the "Cost of
Freedom Tribute," a Texas-based project of the American Veterans Traveling Tribute.
Salem's Patrick Hargreaves, chair of the Board of Selectmen and a long-time organizer
of community holiday parades, spearheaded the fundraising necessary for the $18,500
cost to bring The Wall to town on behalf of the Salem Veteran's Association. Major
donors included the Salem Co-Op Bank, the town of Salem Lancaster Fund, with
substantial funds given by the AMVETS, American Post 63, K of C Council 4442, VFW
and Women's Auxiliary, the Kiwanis Club, the Salem Historical Society, and Tuscan
Brands. The Salem Press has donated printing services.
At press time, Pat Hargreaves noted the need to raise
more funds for the event brochure and he is asking the
community to support the project with ads in the program.
Hargreaves, himself a 10-year Army artillery veteran, said,
"This is something that we believe the Town of Salem needs to
keep our veterans and our community together and involved
with each other." Some may ask, 'Why should the Traveling
Wall come to Salem,' but I say, 'Why not?'"
In addition to Vietnam veterans, the exhibit and programming
honored first responders and emergency personnel, as well as
veterans of all American wars from the Revolution to
Several events showcased the Traveling Wall's Salem visit:
 Wednesday October 15 - Welcome escort, 3-5 pm
 Thursday October 16 - Opening Ceremony, 1 pm
 Friday October 17 - Law Enforcement and Firefighter Recognition Day
 Saturday October 18 - Veterans Day Celebration
 Sunday October 19 - Veterans Day Observance
The Cost of Freedom's Traveling Wall arrived in Salem following a stay in Mount
Pleasant, North Carolina, at the Patriots Point Developmental Authority [Charleston
Harbor, home of the USS Yorktown]. After the program closed on October 19, the
exhibit moved on to the Henryetta Historical Society in Henryetta, Oklahoma.
Information on the Traveling Wall's Salem visit is available on the event's
Facebook page at
Rockingham VNA
& Hospice - We Care at Home
Established in 1905, the Derry Visiting Nurse
Association began as a small, community-based nonprofit organization to serve the needs of their patients
at home. In 1990, Derry VNA merged with Exeter VNA and was renamed the
Rockingham Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice.
It has since grown to an agency with more than
130 employees whose "Our Care Teams" provide many adult home care, hospice, and
community outreach programs throughout Rockingham County and the surrounding
towns of Barrington, Lee and Durham NH.
One of the key services at Rockingham VNA & Hospice is their Bereavement
Support Program. The death of a loved one leaves behind feelings of loss which give
way to deep pain. It is the goal of the Bereavement Support Program to help those who
have experienced loss to understand and normalize their feelings of grief.
Lee Maher, MS, Bereavement Support Coordinator, provides bereavement support in
private residences, nursing homes, hospitals and workshops so that grief can be
expressed in a healthy context. Lee is away until December 9th and Dick Munsey is
filling in during her absence.
In addition, Bereavement Support Groups are held for a six-week period at their 137
Epping Road location in Exeter and are offered free to anyone who wishes to attend.
There are three support groups scheduled to begin in January. The Bereavement
Support Groups provide an opportunity for those who are grieving the death of a loved
one to meet in a safe, supportive environment to share with others who are also
experiencing loss.
Dick explained, "Our bereavement and spiritual services are available to our
patients, those in hospice, and also to their family members. Once a patient dies, we
remain in contact with the family for one full year. We follow up with correspondence,
sending helpful literature about the various aspects of bereavement. We are available
for individual support if necessary. In the spring each year, we hold a Celebration of
Life Memorial Service for families who have lost loved ones during the year. About 300
people attend this service which provides an opportunity for families to reacquaint
themselves with the staff members with whom they formed a relationship. It means a
great deal to them to know that they have not been forgotten."
The Rockingham VNA & Hospice is certified by Medicare, licensed by the State of
NH, and is recognized as a We Honor Veterans Partner. To help provide care and
support for the men and women who served our country, the National Hospice and
Palliative Care Organization, in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs,
developed the We Honor Veterans campaign. As a partner of this pioneering program,
Rockingham VNA & Hospice will implement ongoing Veteran-centered education for the
staff and volunteers to help improve the care they provide to Veterans.
Dr. Patrick Clary, VNA's Hospice Medical Director said, "About a
quarter of the dying in our care are veterans. Common illnesses like
heart disease and uncommon ones like ALS are now understood to be
service connected in many cases, and we may discover more in the
The We Honor Veterans partners can access resources and
integrate best practices for providing end-of-life care to Veterans. The
resources of We Honor Veterans focus on respectful inquiry,
compassionate listening, and grateful acknowledgment, coupled with
special education of health care staff caring for Veterans.
Frequently Asked Questions
"What honors are available to veterans when they die? What benefits are
available to veterans' spouses and their families?"
Military honors are available to all veterans regardless of rank. The funeral service can
include an active duty honor guard or one provided by a local volunteer veterans group.
Arrangements can be made for a chaplain to speak, flag folding and presentation, rifle
salute and the playing of TAPS. Charles F. Dewhirst Funeral Home can assist in making
all the arrangements for these ceremonial activities. We also obtain a burial flag and
bronze grave marker for our veterans.
A United States flag is provided, at no cost, to drape the casket or accompany the urn of
a deceased veteran who served honorably in the US Armed Forces. It honors the
memory of a veteran's military service to his or her country. A veteran may be entitled
to burial allowances, which are partial reimbursements of an eligible veteran's burial and
funeral costs. The amount of the payment depends on whether the death was servicerelated. Your funeral director can help you determine eligibility and will assist in
completing the appropriate government forms.
Dependents of a veteran who died during wartime may be eligible for a death pension.
Again, there are specific eligibility rules that your funeral director can help guide you
through. Resources are also available through the Department of Veterans Affairs. In
Methuen, contact the Veterans Services Officer at 978-983-8585 or visit the Department
of Veterans Services for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts website.
In 2010, Methuen City Council Vice Chairwoman Jeanne Pappalardo, along with City
Councilor Philip Lahey, Jr. spearheaded an effort to create a Wall of Honor, dedicated
to fallen service members. Located in the City Hall foyer, the Wall of Honor is where
photographs of service members who have died in the line of duty are on display. If you
would like to know more about the requirements, go to the Veterans Service
Department web page where you can obtain an application.
Charles F. Dewhirst Funeral Home is committed to helping veterans who come to us for
their final tribute. It is our privilege to serve them and to add a mark of distinction to their
funeral service. We do all that we can for the families to ensure that their veteran
receives the honors and benefits he or she deserves.
Our staff is fully trained to handle every detail of a veteran's funeral service. This
includes answering questions about military protocol, assuring that legal requirements
are met, and providing whatever equipment, facilities, and technical services that may
be needed. We apply for all VA benefits, file for Veterans Life Insurance, and arrange all
military honors.
We are proud to pay tribute to those who served, and upon the family's request, we will
ensure that the veteran receives dignified military funeral honors.
About Us
The Charles F. Dewhirst Funeral Home in Methuen, along with its two other locations in MA
and one in Salem NH, offer over 100 years of combined experience in meeting your family's
emotional, spiritual and financial needs. We are available to answer your questions and
welcome your call at 978-687-1333 or visit us at