When I wrote a column earlier this month about a local post of AMVETS, a veterans organization open to any honorably discharged man or woman who served in the military, it prompted a call from Rod Green Sr. of Aurora.
Rod called because he wants readers to know there is another veterans organization in our area that also is open to anyone who has served in the military and been discharged honorably.
When he mentioned “Forty & Eight” I knew exactly what he was talking about, because I had written about that group before.
The organization is formally known as La Societe des 40 Hommes et 8 Chevaux, or the Society of 40 Men and 8 Horses, reflecting its World War I origins when boxcars on French trains had “40/8” numbering on the sides, indicating the capacity of the boxcar was either 40 men or eight horses.
According to the information Rod provided me, “The Forty & Eight was founded in 1920 by American veterans returning from France.”
“Originally an arm of The American Legion, the Forty & Eight became an independent and separately-incorporated veterans organization in 1960” and welcomed women into its membership.
One comment I found in the information Rod supplied me made quite an impression.
“In this day of an All Volunteer U.S. Military,” according to the Forty & Eight, “it is important to understand that every young man and woman who takes the oath is writing a blank check to the citizens of our great nation for an amount up to, and including, their life.”
“The oath is the same rather in harm’s way or not. They serve the same ultimate Chain of Command and are ready and available to enter any theater, in any capacity and at any time they are so ordered.
“The sacrifice that this service demands, alone, is deserving of our utmost respect and honor.”
The members of the Voiture Locale, as the groups are called, strongly encourage women to join as well as men and, Rod said, his group does have several female members.
Since 1955, the Forty & Eight has, among its other many other charitable works, granted more than $35 million in scholarships to individuals studying to become registered nurses.
The regular meetings of the local organization, Rod said, resume in March.
Those meetings are 1 p.m. the second Saturday of the month at the VFW Hall in Orono.
Rod extends best wishes for a Happy New Year, especially to those “serving in harm’s way,” and wants them to know “as soon as you get home, we will welcome you in.”
For more information about the Forty & Eight, write Rod Green Sr., Grand Publiciste de Maine, 284 Ellsworth Road, Aurora 04408; call him at home, 584-2914 or on his cell phone, 214-3480; or e-mail email@example.com.
If someone asked me to bottle up enthusiasm, name it, and put a label on it, it would be Rachel Caron.
Rachel is president of the Brewer High School student council and the one who contacted me in November to inform the public, especially military veterans, about the BHS Veterans’ Remembrance and Celebration Ceremony which, she e-mailed me recently, “was a HUGE success!!” The capital letters and double-exclamation marks are, of course, hers.
Rachel is just as enthusiastic about a project that could best be described as a long way out, but one that needs your input as soon and as often as possible.
Rachel wrote that the BHS student council will hold a book sale Thursday, April 7, at the school “and, if anybody would like to donate books, it would be much appreciated!”
You can drop off your books from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. any school day in the main office of BHS at 79 Parkway South in Brewer.
“And WE NEED BOOKS! Any genre! Hard cover, soft cover, NO cover. WHATEVER! Okay, maybe not No Cover, but you get the idea,” Rachel wrote.
The best part?
Rachel said all funds raised would be used for scholarships for BHS seniors who are planning to attend college in the fall of 2011.
Any and all books, preferably with covers, are needed to help make this fundraiser a success.
Those books you’ve been meaning to dispose of now have a home, and the books you received for Christmas that you’ve quickly read, that you don’t want to read or had read before, now have a repository: The main office at Brewer High School.
Joni Averill, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; firstname.lastname@example.org; 990-8288.