Two great milestones celebrated
Joseph Kovarik American Legion Post 1146 and the Suffolk County Council of the Boy Scouts of America celebrated their 100-year anniversaries in a special way last Saturday by honoring several individuals, including WWII veteran Joseph Johnson (center, seated).

Photo courtesy of Suffolk County

Two great milestones celebrated

Story By: RANDALL WASZYNSKI
8/1/2019


BOHEMIA—Joseph Kovarik American Legion Post 1146 and the Suffolk County Council of the Boy Scouts of America both celebrated their 100-year anniversaries on Saturday at the American Legion in Bohemia.

“It’s an incredible ceremony when you can honor two of the great organizations of our country,” said county executive Steve Bellone, who served as the honorary chair for the commemoration. “You think about the service that is provided by the scouts and all they do for the community and how they view these young men, and now girls. So many of them grow up and become members of our military.”

Legis. William Lindsay said the American Legion is an organization consisting of members who make valuable mentors for young scouts.

“It is amazing to see at such a young age how unique they are and how concerned they are for our community and our future,” Lindsay said. “The best that we can do is foster that care. And there is no better way to do that than partnering them with our American Legion members — so they really get those values instilled upon them and hear those real-life experiences that our veterans have gone through and the sacrifices that they’ve made, because that inspires them to do the same.”

Two council members of the Boy Scouts of America as well as two Post 1146 members received honors for their respective dedications and accomplishments. Max Stein, unit commissioner for Troop and Pack 607 and representing the Suffolk County Council, introduced the first honoree, Ed Quick.

Quick has been a scouter for many years and has taken over 205 training classes in his scouting career. He has been a part of Suffolk County Scouting Council Committee, holding roles such as district member at large, unit commissioner, assistant district commissioner, round-table commissioner, merit badge counselor and district membership chairman. He is also cub master of Pack 91.

“His expertise proceeds him, and he has recently been asked to become our district chairman—a major position as a part of the key three that manages our district,” Stein said, shortly before presenting him with the award.

Second, Joseph Johnson of Troop and Pack 438 was recognized for his dedication to scouting. He has been involved with scouting for over 50 years and is a WWII veteran. He has lived in the Bohemia area all his life. He has been married to his wife Joan for 62 years and has four children, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Both of Johnson’s brothers died in two notorious battles: one in the attack on Pearl Harbor and the other in the invasion of Normandy.

“We talk about the Greatest Generation, and [Johnson] represents what that term means,” said Bellone, who is a qualified member of the American Legion and an Army veteran. “To you young people here: Whenever you get an opportunity to meet a WWII veteran, make sure you shake their hand and thank them for what they have done.”

The first of two honorees of Post 1146 was George Stondell, a longtime member of the American Legion Post. In addition to being a member of the Legion, he is also a member of Assisted Veterans Service Organization. As an American veteran, he has served the department in every capacity and eventually served as the Department of New York AMVETS commander. As commander, Stondell became involved with many other veterans organizations, such as the Patriot Guard and the Calverton National Cemetery Support Committee. Before he joined the Veterans Service Organization, Stondell joined the U.S. Army in 1971. On active duty, reserve and guard, he finally retired 22 years later as a senior movement control officer.

The final honoree was John Bugler, a U.S. Navy veteran who is a member of the clandestine service, serving time in Soviet prison in efforts to extract refugees from behind the Iron Curtain.

“I take this for all those who did not come back from Vietnam and Korea,” Bugler said. “I take this for all the MIAs who are still unaccounted for. I take this for all the women who lost their husbands. I take this for all the mothers who lost their sons. And I take this with a prayer that wars go away. We learn how to take the Ten Commandments and practice love towards one another. Instead of going to battlefields, we work with diplomacy and love and care for the future.”