Category Archives: event

Nobody is too tough to cry….

Nobody is too tough to cry

by Daniel Moran, G.M. Calumet Park Cemetery

I turned my car onto a rutted, dirt road.  About a quarter of a mile in, I passed a rusted gate hanging half off the hinges.  The house was really not much more than a shack with an old couch on the porch and windows that were in bad need of repair.  It was almost dark, that time when you can see a light on in a window when the sky is darker than it is light.  There was no garage and no car, so I was wondering if my appointment was even home.  I was there to talk about new windows, or at least storm windows, and a quick glance showed that the house was actually deteriorating around the frames so I was asking myself if we could even do anything for this homeowner.

I parked, picked my way past the rotted porch floorboards and knocked.  I confess, I knocked lightly as I was hoping nobody was home so I wouldn’t waste my time on this lead.  As I turned to leave, I heard a male voice shout that I should come in.  “Crap!” I thought as I turned the doorknob and tentatively entered the house.  “Hello, my name is Dan and I am from the replacement window company,” I said as I slowly obeyed the command.  The living room was very small, maybe 10 x 10 and there was a worn-out recliner straight on from the front door.

The man sat under a very low wattage lamp.  There was a small area rug, an old black and white TV, and a simple black phone on a tin tray table next to him along with an ash tray spilling out cigarette butts.  There was a pile of wood shavings on the floor in front of his chair and he was whittling something as I approached.  “Get a chair from the kitchen and come talk to me about my windows.   This past winter was brutal on me.”

I pulled up a chair and sat, and my heart was racing.  The man, we’ll call him Bob for this story, had no legs, a right arm with a hand that had nubs for fingers, no left arm, long, oily hair hanging down past his beard and an eye patch over his left eye.  His face was scarred and his voice was ragged, presumably from years of smoking.

I gave a quick presentation of storm windows because it seemed obvious he had little to no money, which turned out to be correct.  But in the time we were together, we found a common bond.  He was a door gunner in Vietnam during the TET Offensive in ’68, and went from a small-town boy to a torn apart body of a man whose heart and soul was ripped away along with his lost limbs and eye.  In fact, as I shared some of my story of being a ‘Nam alumni, he poured out his pain.  This meeting of veterans was in 1984, 14 years after his being torn apart from concentrated ground fire.  It was always the goal of the Viet Cong to take out a door gunner when possible to stop some of the devastating M-50 machine gun attacks from the sky.

He shared his story of being in the hospital for over a year, and of the complications from taking so many rounds.  At one point, he pulled up his shirt and showed his body; riddled with scars.  I cried as he related the pain, the loss of hope, the confusion, the loneliness and the isolation his life had become.  He nodded to a purple heart next to his phone and bitterly mocked what he got for his trouble as a soldier in Vietnam.

We talked for a couple of hours and I finally said I had to leave, but that I would be back.  I promised.  I told him that, one way or another, he was getting new windows for his house.  And I was good to my word as I split the cost with the owner of the company after sharing Bob’s story.  By the way, we had to give him a new fence, too, because I tore his fence up trying to back out in pitch dark as I was squinting through my reddened eyes from the experience of meeting Bob.

I am sharing this story because Memorial Day is upon us once again.  Many years have passed and nearly all of us “old timer Vietnam vets” still live out our night terrors.  For me, I took my uniform off in 1971…48 years ago.  But there are living vets from WWII, Korea, and all the mid-East wars right up to newly created vets leaving the service as you read this as people that served their country with pride, and dignity and honor.  These people, your grandparents and parents, uncles and aunts, brothers and sisters and sons and daughters need to be remembered, particularly those whose deaths happened as a result of time served in our great military.  Veterans Day is meant for all of these people, and Memorial Day is for the departed.  However, I believe that there are many walking dead among us who lost a big part of who they might have been by fighting for this county, and they need to be honored and remembered every day.

I ask that all who read this article find time on Sunday, May 26 at 1:00, rain or shine, to come out to Calumet Park Cemetery and join with other like-minded people who wish to make a show of appreciation to our men and women of the armed forces.

People like Bob lost everything.  With his torn body, mind and soul, he had a lifetime that was so different than he could have ever imagined before he put on his first pair of Army boots.  He and all of his brothers and sisters in arms deserve an hour of respect and genuine thanks.

carving

Oh, the wood shavings.  The picture of the wood carving of the wizard shown with this article was carved by good old, one eyed, one armed, no fingered Bob as a gift to me in March of 1984.  It took him a couple of months to whittle it from a branch that came down with his fence from my inability to back up a car when leaving his home that winter night.  It hangs on my office wall to this day as a reminder that there can always be something good coming from something bad.  Bob was willing to share a couple of his hours with me, and created a work of art kindled by our mutual respect for time served for this country.  To me, this simple work of Bob has always had more meaning than all the medals that were awarded to me for my work in Nam.

I never saw Bob again, but that time together still occupies a part of my heart that reminds me that nobody is too tough to cry.  Never forget that “there but through the grace of God go I”.

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Calumet Park Funeral Chapel in Merrillville hosts 14th annual Angel Tree Lighting Service on December 1…

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Filed under Calumet Park Cemetery, Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville Indiana, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel in Merrillville Indiana, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel of Hobart and Portage, Calumet Park Funeral Home, event, Events, Funeral home, Rendina Funeral Home, Uncategorized

Rendina Funeral Home holds its 4th Annual Angel Tree Lighting ceremony on November 29…nice gathering of families

Michelle Hanrahan, Funeral Director and Funeral Home Supervisor reading names for people to place angels on tree.

Paul Vogel, President and CEO of Calumet Park, sharing a seasonal message.

Brant Vogel singing “Golden Threads”.

The Vogel brothers: Brant, Paul and Rob

Harpist Renee Wilson

Kim Jones and Michelle Hanrahan

Matt Hahn

Raquel Santos, Funeral Director (sorry, not able to turn pic)

Carl Paunicka, Matt Hanh, Kim Jones and Michelle Hanrahan

Raquel Santos, Marcia Ochoa and Barb Fedorchak

Barb Fedorchak

Board Members: Kim Jones, Carl Paunicka, Paul Vogel and Rob Vogel

    

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Fall is in the air at Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville…see below for upcoming events

Good week for colored leaf watching at Calumet Park.

It is a beautiful fall day in Merrillville.  Below are some random shots of Calumet Park Cemetery at the corner of 73rd and Taft in Merrillville, Indiana.  From atop the hill of crosses, it feels like the property is endless.  There are over 400 acres of land owned by Calumet Park, with 170 developed.  There are thousands of graves available from all price ranges in the area that is currently developed.  At approximately 1100 burials per acre and at the current rate of usage, Calumet Park has land for close to 550 years.  This means that it is OK to not worry about using up all the land.  In fact, there are seven different possibilities for permanent placement of cremains, along with private and community mausoleums, flush bronze on granite sections, flush granite sections, above ground monument sections and so much more.

Meditation Pond with fountain, bridge, niches, waterfalls and gazebo.

Crucifixion monument at Priest’s Circle.

Meditation Pond Niches which allow etchings of loved ones on the niche fronts.

Meditation Waterfalls.

Meditation Pond with fountain and bridge.

Meditation Pond fountain,.

First of many planned signs that will be placed around the cemetery describing features and history of the cemetery.

Monument memorializing the lost souls of American Eagle crash on Halloween night so many years ago.

Garden surrounding the American Eagle Memorial is designed in the shape of an angel if seen from above. Shown is the left wing.

Monument with names of all whose lives were cut short on that cold and wet evening.

Right wing of angel.

Some of the names of those unfortunate souls.

American flag at the SE corner of the Veteran Section (Section 17)

Crosses on the Hill…first phase of this holy place.

Standing beneath the crosses and looking north. Notice all the land space for future development as needed.

Looking N/NE from the hill.

Write your own thought or prayer as you view this photo.

Hundreds of acres of undeveloped land looking west from atop the hill.

Look S/SW from atop the hill.

Mark you calendars for Veterans Day, November 11 at 11:00 a.m. for a Memorial Service for veterans. Call 769-8803 for details.

November 29 will be the Angel Tree Lighting Ceremony at Rendina Funeral Chapel  from 6-8 p.m. (call early to reserve your angel and come early to have time to pick up your angel before the ceremony begins.  Call 980-1141 for details.

December 1 will be the Angel Tree Lighting Ceremony at Merrillvile Funeral Chapel and will be from 3-5 p.m..  Try to come early to get your angel and to get good seats. Call 736-5840 for details.

December 8 will be the Angel Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Hobart Chapel on County Line Road in Hobart near the Apple Orchard.  The time for this event will be from 3-5 p.m. Call 940-3791 for details.

Call now to reserve your angel.

Happy thanksgiving to all.  You are all appreciated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Calumet Park Cemetery, Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville Indiana, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel in Merrillville Indiana, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel of Hobart and Portage, Calumet Park Funeral Home, event, Events, Rendina Funeral Home, Uncategorized, veterans at calumet Park cemetery, veterans day ceremony

Trunk or Treat a huge success at Calumet Park Funeral Chapel in Hobart…

Thanks to all who visited this year’s Trunk or Treat event at Calumet Park Funeral Chapel in Hobart.  The funeral home is just north of the County Line Apple Orchard and just south of Route 6 and County Line Road in Hobart.  A special thanks go out to all who helped make this event such a success. Lead by Violet de la Torre-Corona, funeral director, and Mike Poweska, many local businesses participated which offered a safe place for kids of all ages to spend a couple of hours having fun.  Several employees from Calumet Park worked along side Violet and Mike and are appreciated for their contribution to this wonderful activity.

For information on pre-arranging or regarding future special community activities, call 219-940-3791 or stop by the funeral home for a personal, guided tour.  Se habla espanol.

Mark your calendar for December 8 for the Angel Tree Lighting Ceremony to be held at the Hobart Chapel (370 North County Line Road in Hobart.  Merrillville’s tree lighting is December 1 and Rendina’s tree lighting is November 29.  Call for times and to reserve your angels.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Calumet Park Cemetery, Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville Indiana, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel in Merrillville Indiana, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel of Hobart and Portage, Calumet Park Funeral Home, event, Events, feature stories, Rendina Funeral Home

Calumet Park Funeral Chapel in Merrillville hosts annual Fall Festival on Saturday…

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You can still participate in the Calumet Park Cemetery 5K Light the Darkness walk/run for suicide prevention…

 

2018-09-27 02.22.10http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/post-tribune/opinion/ct-ptb-davich-lisa-gold-son-suicide-st-0928-story.html

Click on article above written by Jerry Davich, writer for the Post Tribune newspaper.  His article tells the story Dr. Gold.  She will be the  guest speaker for Saturday, September 29, 5K fundraiser for suicide awareness.  The map shows the path of the 3.1 mile course.  All are invited to join in on this fundraiser to bring suicide awareness and prevention into the public conversation.

Call 219-769-8803 for details.  Calumet Park is located at the corner of 73rd and Taft in Merrillville.  Over 100 runners/walkers have signed up and will participate.

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Butterfly Release for 2018 a resounding success…in spite of iffy weather…

Thanks to all who came out for the live butterfly release on Saturday, July 21.  The weather cooperated and all had a memorable time.  A

A special thanks to all the participants:  Paul Vogel II, Rob Vogel, Rusty Shields, Richard Stake, Dianne Correll, Stephanie Syzmanski, Marilyn Kligler, Sandy Ferris, Carrie Evans, Violeta de la Torre-Corona, Mike Poweska, Matt Hahn,Tim McClure, Tom Music and the entire grounds team who handled the set up and tear down and traffic control and parking.  See you again next year.

Hope I did not miss anyone.

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Happy Father’s Day….

Happy Father’s Day to all dads, with us or in heaven. Thanks for all you have done for us.

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Fishing For Memories…fun day of fishing for kids 12 and under…

Now that’s a nice catch!

Come out to the cemetery on Saturday, June 9th at 11:00 and bring the kids.  This is an annual catch and release program of fun for the entire family.  Refreshments will be served.  Stop at the office for a map to the Meditation Pond, or look for the fountain, gazebo and waterfalls.  See you there.  99% sure you will catch fish.  Call 769-8803 if you have any questions.

Let Grandpa show you how its done.

Now this is relaxing.

Matt Hahn guides the young-uns in the ways of the wild.

Fun family fishing day.

Leslie looking for her kin to do some fishing.

Paul Jr. helping bait a hook.

Garry Groundhog with Paul Sr. at the Meditation Pond Fishing for Memories event.

Young at heart.

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Filed under Calumet Park Cemetery, Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville Indiana, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel in Merrillville Indiana, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel of Hobart and Portage, Calumet Park Funeral Home, event, Events, feature stories, Rendina Funeral Home, Uncategorized