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World War II veteran set to receive POW recognition

An 85-year-old Tyrone veteran of World War II is about to receive a long-awaited recognition as a Prisoner of War.
William N. Rhodes, a technical sergeant in the United States Army/Air Force will receive the recognition at a ceremony to take place next week in Tyrone.
Congressman Bill Shuster will be on hand to make the formal presentation of the POW Medal along with a citation. Congressman Shuster was instrumental in helping Rhodes receive the honor after a clerical problem had caused six decades to pass before Rhodes was granted the status.
Shuster has made veterans’ issues a focal point during his time as a Congressman. Just last month, he attended a Memorial Day Rally for veterans in Washington in front of the U.S. Capitol.
A press release from the Congressman’s office said Shuster joined Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and more than 20 other members of Congress to show support for military veterans as well as those who are currently serving abroad.
At the time Shuster said, “Our veterans accepted the responsibility to defend America and uphold our values when duty called,” said Shuster. “(The May event) was a small piece of recognition compared to the huge, and sometimes ultimate, sacrifice made by our veterans and those serving abroad today fighting the war on terror.”
Shuster added, “I was standing in front of the Capitol building and facing the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial. As we remembered the heroic actions of our veterans today, America’s values and symbols of freedom were there as a reminder of their sacrifices.”
In addition to Shuster’s presentation to former POW Rhodes next week, State Representative Jerry Stern from the Pennsylvania Veterans Affairs Committee has prepared a proclamation from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for the veteran. Tyrone Councilman William Fink will represent Stern at the ceremonies.
The ceremony for Rhodes at the American Legion for Rhodes is just one of many activities and benefits provided to veterans by such groups across the state.
Just last week Rep. Stern lauded the work of Pennsylvania’s Veterans Service Organizations (the Legion, VFWs, AMVets and others) and encouraged new membership in such groups.
“As chairman of the House Subcommittee on Military and Veterans Facilities, I have the privilege of working closely with the State Veterans Commission and the Pennsylvania War Veterans Council, which are made up of many veterans service organizations across Pennsylvania,\” said Stern. “The services and support they provide to their membership are important and make a real difference to the state’s veterans and their families.”
A release from Stern’s office said VSOs currently boast a membership more than three million people.
“These are wonderful organizations that work tirelessly on behalf of all veterans and their families. I encourage veterans as well as those on active duty today to take advantage of the services, programs and friendship available through these organizations,” said Stern.
Blair County Commissioner Barry Wright will also be in attendance at the recognition ceremony for Rhodes.
The event is scheduled to take place on July 5 at 5:30 p.m. at the Tyrone American Legion Post 281.