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Volunteers heed the call for help

August 20, 2012
By J.T. Whitehouse , Town Crier

Several dozen volunteers showed up at the veterans' cabin at the Canfield Fairgrounds on Saturday morning to answer a call for help. They became part of a small army that set up the National Guard tents that are an important part of the upcoming fair.

The word went out early last week when members of the Korean War Veterans sent out a press release that stated the National Guard that normally sets up the military tents at the fair would not be able to help. They had been deployed and many of the veterans groups in the area that man the tents during the fair had members that were up in age and unable to handle the chore themselves.

With the short notice, no one was sure of just how many hands would show up Saturday morning. By 9 a.m. it was apparent that a lot of area residents gave up their day to help the veterans groups. There were volunteers from local fire departments, local non-profit groups and from Scouting who answered the call for help.

Article Photos

Photos by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Frank Sokol, a member of the Marine Corp League, Gunnery Sgt. Jose Serrano from the U.S. Marine Corp’s 4th Landing Support Equipment Company at the Vienna Air Base and Past AMVETS National Commander J.P. Brown III shake hands on a job well done as an army of volunteers showed up on Saturday morning to raise the National Guard tents at the Fairgrounds.

"Our Cub Scout Pack sent out a mass email for help," said Pack 114 member Colin Rushen, 10, out of Boardman.

Rushen showed up with his father Paul Rushen and the pair were not alone. A small army of Scouts showed up from several packs and troops. From Troop 101 out of Struthers. was Evan John, 16, of Poland, and his father, Roy John. From Troop 60 in Boardman, was 12-year-old Anthony Habuda.

"I got the email that said they needed help," Habuda said. "I think it is nice to help people, so I came out."

Besides the Scouts and several local service clubs, the group included six firefighters from the Cardinal Joint Fire District. Assistant Fire Chief Matt Rarick said it was a last-minute decision.

"We read the article asking for help in the Town Crier," Rarick said. "We responded to the need."

The large number of volunteers made the work somewhat easier than normal, but it still require a level of expertise. That was provided by Gunnery Sgt. Jose Serrano, an active duty member of the U.S. Marine Corp's 4th Landing Support Equipment Company based at the Youngstown Air Reserve Base in Vienna. It made one volunteer very happy.

"At this point, the Marines are providing the expertise," said retired Master Sgt. Frank Sokol, who is a member of the Marine Corp League.

Serrano's knowledge was also welcomed by Past AMVETS National Commander J.P. Brown III, who oversees the military and veterans' displays for the fair.

"The Ohio National Guard donates the tents each year," Brown said. "With all the deployment, we had less support in setting them up this year, but the Marine Corp Reserve donated their expertise and I have never seen these tents go up this fast."

By the end of the day, the tents were in place and ready for another Canfield Fair. Brown said he was thankful for the overwhelming response to the call for help.



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