Compatriot Over-watch for Former Chaplain & Chapter President Patrick Kelly
Three Hocking Valley Chapter compatriots, Bob Hill (Ohio Society Color Guard Commander), Al Gummere, and Paul Irwin traveled to Woodside Village Care Center in Mount Gilead, Ohio on Friday, August 28th. There they met Cincinnati Chapter and Ohio Society Chaplain Ed Bonniwell to present awards to an ailing compatriot, Patrick Kelly, age 86.
Earlier last week, Chaplain Ed visited Patrick, and a few days later, Matt Hardman (President and Chaplain of the Hocking Valley Chapter) and Bob Hill visited as well. All enjoyed meeting Patrick, his wife Shirley, and his loving daughter, Karen. Patrick suffered a bad fall a few months ago and his injuries have not healed properly. He and his family know time is running out and he is growing weaker, though he perked up during visits from his compatriots. Bob was quite surprised when at the end of their visit, they all joined hands in prayer and Bob expected Matt to lead, but it was Patrick who immediately led in prayer, and a good one!
Patrick once served as the Pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church in North Woodbury, and 8 other churches in his career. He joined the SAR under his patriot ancestor, Reuben Frisbee of Connecticut…yes, the same family line that invented the frisbee! He was an active member and Chaplain for nearly 30 years in the Centennial Chapter (as well as a past President), and the former Henry Knox Chapter. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal by the Ohio Society in 2007, a Distinguished Service Certificate, the Roger Sherman Medal, Silver Color Guard Medal, and a 20-year Tenure Pin.
The facility caring for Patrick is very strict on the number of visitors allowed inside. So, Ed went inside to do the presentation, and Patrick’s daughter, Karen was there. Bob, Al, and Paul formed a small Color Guard outside Patrick’s window where he could see them. Patrick’s son, Dave, stood outside with them. Although rain was threatening, the Lord held it back for the ceremony.
All involved knew it was an important gesture for Patrick and family to do this ceremony for him. Bob wasn’t expecting to get misty-eyed, but tears welled-up when he saw Patrick through the window, laying on his bed wearing his Continental Army jacket and tricorn hat, and he gave the Color Guard a salute.
The Color Guard came to Present Arms as Pastor Ed, with his booming voice and eloquence, awarded Patrick the Bronze Good Citizenship Medal, and the Army Colonel’s Chaplain Insignia. When the time comes, Patrick has requested an SAR vigil at his viewing and a graveside ceremony. It will be an honor to fulfill his wishes.