Representatives of Bucks County Tour of Honor came to the Bensalem Council Meeting last week to recognize township officials, police, fire and EMS workers for their roles in sending 150 veterans to Washington, D.C. last September.
The trip included veterans of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Together, they visited war memorials and other sites in the nation’s capital for a daylong trip before returning to Parx Casino, where hundreds waited to celebrate them and thank them for their service.
According to the Tour of Honor Chairman Joe Szafran, the Bensalem community has a lot to do with the program’s success.
“One of our biggest supporters in the county is actually Bensalem Township,” Szafran said. “We thought this was necessary to thank the community for its service to us.”
Szafran handed out over a dozen plaques to recognize the efforts. Members of the Bensalem and Philadelphia police departments received them for helping coordinate the police escort all the way to Washington, D.C. and back. Bensalem Fire Rescue and Bensalem EMS as well as the Cornwells, Eddington, Newport, Nottingham, Trevose and Union fire companies were recognized for helping with the escort and working out logistics.
Monsignor Kenneth McAteer of St. Ephrem Parish was given a plaque for leading prayers after the trip. The Uptown String Band from Langhorne and Bensalem High School Marching Band received one each for playing as the veterans arrived. The Bensalem Kiwanis club was included for lining the entryway to Parx with American flags.
“It’s a joint venture of everybody coming together,” Mayor Joe DiGirolamo said. “I talk teams all the time, and we’re a heck of a team.”
Szafran also debuted a video documenting the Tour of Honor. Featured in it were veterans who took the trip, representatives of Parx Casino, DiGirolamo and U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, who said he would be there next year to help guide them through Washington, D.C.
The video will be used to help garner more sponsorships and donations to the Tour of Honor so the program can continue to grow.
Already, there are plans to have another trip on June 5 for veterans of the Vietnam War and one on Oct. 2 for World War II and Korean War veterans.
Those interested in applications can contact Bensalem Township at 215.633.3600 or Bucks County government at 215.348.6000.