Patriotism evidenced in black and white
MUNCY – During annual July 4th holidays when decorations and dress are seen in colors of red, white and blue, on a monthly basis Sue Lowe’s patriotism is revealed in black and white.
The Fairfield Township resident is founder of the Veterans Gazette, a monthly mini newspaper that keeps members in the know-how as to what is happening within local veterans’ organizations.
A member of the Muncy American Legion since 1992, Lowe said, “It was mentioned at a meeting there should be some way to inform members of events held by the area’s various veterans organizations. Everyone agreed it was a good idea, but no one wanted the job, so I volunteered to work up something.”
The first issue was distributed in February 2005 under the name of ‘The Post 268 Gazette,’ then in January 2007, the name was changed to ‘The Veterans Gazette’. It is now distributed to nine local Posts and has grown to as many as 22 pages.
The writer’s passion for patriotism would not surprise anyone who knows the former Sharon “Sue” Baker from Hepburnville. “My mother taught her seven children to respect the flag and those who’d served in the military,” she said.
Eventually the youngest of three did serve their country – a brother in the Army, a sister in the Air Force and Sue in the Navy Reserves. “My mom loved to see us in our uniforms,” she said.
Enlisting in November 1984, by the following February, Lowe was full time with the Naval Reserve Training Administrative Reservist (TAR) program. Her first tour was at the Naval Reserve Center, Grove Street, Williamsport; a second tour took her to New Orleans where she was with the Naval Reserve Financial Information Processing Center (FIPC); and lastly back to the Center in Williamsport finishing her enlistment in January 1995.
Other military men in her life are husband Ken Lowe, a Navy man from 1960-1964; and Ken’s brother, Mahlon Lowe, in the Army 1946-1948. There are lots of vets in the family,” she said.
Combining experiences from connections and the places they’ve been, gave the Lowe’s insight into a way to aid awareness among veterans. Describing what can be found in the monthly gazette, she said, “It includes stories, obituaries, events, recipes, puzzles and everyone’s favorite section, the jokes.”
She and Ken scan military magazines reprinting stories they feel important or interesting for their readers, with up-to-date information concerning veterans benefits a must.
In depth stories have been on such traditions as the empty POW/MIA chair, taps, flag folding at military funerals and flag etiquette.
The preparation process for the printings average 40 to 50 hours a month, which are done in a designated home office room and then taken out to be printed. Copying is the most expensive cost involved, however recently half of the printing has been donated. Various veteran organizations distributing the gazette have begun donating toward the expense with Williamsport making copies for their members.
Deliveries to local Posts are done by some faithful readers traveling to Muncy, Montgomery, Jersey Shore, Montoursville, South Williamsport and Williamsport. Other recipients are the VFW’s in Muncy and Jersey Shore and the 40/8 in Williamsport.
So as to be included, most organizations forward their event information. There is also a website at www.vetsgaz268.com.
In 2009, Lowe’s volunteerism brought rewards when she received the Lycoming County Council American Legion Citizen of the Year Award. She is a life member of the Muncy American Legion Post 268, the Montgomery American Legion Auxiliary Unit 251 and the Muncy VFW Auxiliary 3428.
Lowe was the first woman to be eligible to join as an active member of the Lycoming County 40/8 Voiture 382 in Williamsport. Currently Lowe is adjutant for Muncy American Legion and the Lycoming County American Legion, and Deputy Commander of the American Legion’s 16th District.
Lowe credits husband Ken as her best friend and biggest fan, “He gives me his total support and without his help I don’t think I could do this every month,” she said.
Ken is also active in many veteran organizations, with positions including Lycoming County American Legion Commander and also 16th District American Legion Deputy Commander.
Patriotic colors are not restricted to red, white and blue, but thanks to the Lowe’s, it does include black and white.