“Ms. Gail Hommel, U.S Army Specialist Five, was the 1982 Soldier of the Year at Fort Benning, Georgia. Gail is the daughter of Charles and Elsie Benjamin Hommel of Haines Falls and a graduate of Hunter-Tannersville Central School. Gail exemplifies the bright, educated young soldiers who form the backbone of today’s modern Army.” Gail was the first female soldier to receive that award at Fort Benning, Georgia. Gail Hommel, thank you for your service.
In April 1983, Air Force Airman 1st Class Helen M. Dale, daughter of retired Air Force Master Sgt. Charles F. and Rose G. Dale of Tannersville has been named Outstanding Airman of the Month at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska. Helen Dale, Thank you for your service.
The last Civil War Veteran in Greene County was Mr. George Showers, a 98-year-old resident of Tannersville. Mr. Showers died on November 17, 1941, 76 years after the Civil War ended. (Mr. Showers was the great-grandfather of Leah Showers Wiltse, past historian of the Town of Hunter, and the great-great-grandfather of today’s Jim Wiltse). Mr. Showers was given a full military funeral at the Tannersville Evergreen Cemetery on Bloomer Rd. Mr. Showers was a member of the G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) and well known throughout the county. He was survived by two daughters, Carrie Bynder, and Margaret Ruoff: four sons, Arthur, David, Franklin, and Oscar Showers (Leah Showers Wiltse’s father).
Justine Hommel, our long-time town historian, shared a few of her life experiences during WW11.
Justine told about the aftermath of the December 7, 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor and how it affected our town. Justine said, “the obvious effect of World War 11 was the absence of our boys and men, either those enlisted or drafted.”
She said that the people in town felt they were helping the cause when they collected pieces of tinfoil from candy and cigarette packages, pressing the foil into balls and donating them to collection centers. People saved their paper bags; they bought war bonds or the more affordable savings stamps. They limited their use of sugar, butter, and meat. Both food and gasoline were rationed during the war. Justine said shoes were not made of leather, and to make them last, you needed to fill your shoes with a lot of cardboard!
She said there was an air-raid station at the top of Hill Street, across from the Tannersville High School. The air-raid station was the largest cupola (of the three) removed from the Anshi-Hashuron Synagogue roof. In August of 1918, Jim Wiltse’s crew moved the Synagogue from the western end of the village to South Main St. The movers had to remove the cupola to move the building down the streets. Justine said that because gasoline (and rubber used for tires) was rationed, its tourist business was further impacted.
Below are just a few light-hearted stories found in our local papers.
1955 Windham Journal “News of Our Folks in Service.”
A/3c Robert S. Haines is stationed in northern Japan and received his present rank in February. He is a graduate of H-T, class of 1952. Edward and his brother are the sons of Mr. and Mrs. Stewart A. Haines of Westkill.
A/1c Edward Haines was in Goose Bay, Labrador. He is a graduate of H-T Central School, class of 1954. Another short article told that Ed, after his discharge, he went to work at Thorpe’s Garage in Tannersville. He was greeted with a Welcome Home Party on Feb. 22, answering plenty of questions about Japan.
“Area Youths Meet While n Korea With Infantry.” 1956
Pfc. Tom Haeflin, son of Mrs. Mildred Haeflin of Hensonville, and Pfc. Arthur Flick, son of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Flick of Westkill, met near Paju-ri, Korea, some 30 miles south of Seoul, just a few weeks before Tom’s discharge. Both served in the 24th Infantry Division in Korea, Tom with the 11th field artillery, and Arthur with the 24th special service battalion. Both units are about 4 miles from the demilitarized zone, which separates North and South Korea, regularly patrolled by US forces and the Communists. While in Korea, the boys met John Ham from Hunter, who is with the 8042 AU in Japan. John said. “We enjoyed talking over old times and verbally carried on the rivalry between Hunter-Tannersville and WAJ, regarding who had the superior basketball and baseball teams.” Arthur Flick said, “We look forward to swapping our M’1’s (army rifle) and carbines (small rifle) for a deer rifle and a shotgun.”
Thank you all, for your service.