Chapter Update

CA-3 continues to hold well attended monthly meetings. The July meeting, hosted by Secretary Bonnie Dabalos-Castro and Loyal Escort Pattie Ellison, celebrated Independence Day with a patriotic theme.

The August meeting was hosted by Vice President/Treasurer Kathy Wright and Loyal Escort Angie Fredekind. In September, the meeting, hosted by Nancy Zaunbrecher-Payne, recognized POW/MIA Day.

CA-3 members also continue to be busy. The CA-3 Scholarship Chair participated in the inaugural Mission City VeteRun 5k/10k at Levi’s Stadium on August 6th, sponsored by Kaiser Permanente. All proceeds went to improving the lives of veterans in the local community. There was a distance for everyone: 1.5 mile walk, 5K, 10K, and if you were feeling like you could (still) ace boot camp, a participant could try the signature VeteRun Challenge and tackle both the 5K AND 10K! All finishers received commemorative VeteRun dog tags.

Loyal Escort Angie Fredekind (and her sister Paula who is visiting from Germany) and Vice President Kathy Wright attended Fleet Week in San Francisco on 7 Oct. They spent the day cruising the bay on one of only two remaining WWII Liberty Ships – the Jeremiah O’Brien. The weather was absolutely perfect. They sailed under both the Golden Gate and the Bay Bridges, saw the military ships that were in port for Fleet Week and watched the air show featuring the Canadian Snowbirds and the Blue Angels while anchored in San Francisco Bay. It was a terrific day and a wonderful way to recognize our Navy, Marine and Coast Guard personnel who patrol the seas to protect us all.

During this time period, President Susan Johnston participated in six memorial services, and also participated in the first annual Tracy ceremony to bury the ashes of discarded American flags as part of the combined Honor Guard of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.

It is with a very heavy heart that I must report the loss of one of our charter members – Connie Guaraglia. Connie passed away on October 3rd. Connie (Concetta Musumeci) Guaraglia joined the Marine Corps in 1951, and was discharged in 1957. She was stationed at the Brooklyn Navy Yard from 1951-1956, and then at Treasure Island from 1956-1957. She always said one of the reasons she joined the Marine Corps was to travel, and then she was originally stationed at home – in Brooklyn! She worked with the 2nd Signal Company, Communications, teletype – she typed the orders to send Marines to Korea.

Some of her favorite memories of the Marine Corps:

  • She marched on 5th Avenue in New York City for a Veterans
    Day Parade
  • She was chosen to model the new Marine green uniform on a TV program “Musical Jackpot” hosted by Paul Brenner
  • Her picture was taken, and put in the book, “Women Marines in the Korean War Era” by Peter A. Soderbergh.

Connie was active in many veteran organizations such as the Marine Corps League, the 1st Marine Division Association, the Combat Correspondents Association and the Women Marines Association. She joined WMA shortly after it was founded in 1960. She was also a founding member of CA-3, one of the first six chapters chartered by WMA in 1964. She was active in for their entire 53-year history and served in a variety of positions from chapter president to chaplain.

Connie loved our country and our Corps and was particularly fond of all our veterans – both male and female. Unfortunately, Connie had a brother who was listed as MIA during the Korean War. She had a MIA/POW table that she set up at veteran events throughout the Bay Area and read the memorial for our missing brothers and sisters in honor of her own brother. Every time one or more were identified and returned home, she immediately informed all of us at one of our chapter meetings. When
I took over as chaplain, she told me that she appreciated that I always included prayers for our POW/MIA’s. She made sure that the POW/MIA table was also set up at our Marine Corps Birthday celebrations. We are reasonably sure that Connie has now been reunited with her brother in Heaven.

Another of Connie’s passions was children. One of her important activities was to serve as Mrs. Claus for the Davis Street Family Resource Center. Each year, CA-3 collected toys for “Connie’s Kids” and she donated all the toys she collected to the center and joined in at their Christmas event where she dressed up as Mrs. Claus. Even though Mrs. Claus cannot be at this year’s event, CA-3 plans to collect toys for the kids and donate them to Davis Street in her honor. Carloads of toys have been donated to these children in the past years because of Connie’s efforts.

As her physical strength began to erode, Connie was confined to a wheel chair. That did not stop her from continuing to attend our monthly chapter meetings and participate in our events. She always dressed up for our Halloween meeting – the only meeting where she did not wear one of her many military/patriotic shirts. She rode in the jeep for the 4th of July Parade in downtown Redwood City. Connie continued to be very proud of her Marine Corps service the entire time I knew her and will be missed very much. Semper Fidelis, dear friend. Rest in Peace.

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