STANLEY––Bob Mahovsky is a big believer in honoring living military veterans.
And the Stanley man is also very keen on memorializing veterans who’ve gone on to their Great Reward. Wednesday, Mahovsky told The Herald more about this past Sunday’s Stanley Area Veterans’ Day Celebration at Stanley Pentecostal Holiness Church and the nonprofit Stanley Cemetery Ancestry Fund, which was the workhorse behind organizing the entire event. Mahovsky is the group’s president.
“Major General (ret.) Abraham Turner gave a very motivational presentation,” he said of Sunday’s celebration. “I believe he not only gave educational information to the audience, but he also inspired patriotic feelings at a time our country is sadly in great turmoil. His presentation was strong and very respectful of all veterans for their service to the country. He made special comments to address the unfortunate experience some Vietnam veterans had when they returned home. No doubt, he helped to heal some emotional wounds.
“(Stanley) Mayor Steven Denton spoke about his blessings by being raised in a military family,” he continued. “He also very professionally started the celebration, calling the color guard to present the flag. The color guard set the stage for patriotic feelings. But when Purple Heart recipient Jim Henderson led the audience in saying the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag and singing the National Anthem, everyone was engaged, and you could feel the complete bonding of everyone to our country and deep appreciation for our veterans.”
Mahovsky also cited Rep. John Torbett of the North Carolina General Assembly.
“Mr. John Torbett was commanding in his presentation and yet engaging about the meaning of why we were gathered,” Mahovsky said, “and how his personal military career was so important to him. His respect for the veterans came across as being very strong.
“(Stanley) Town Manager Heath Jenkins spoke of his great respect for the veterans,” he added, “and he read the poem, ‘What Is a Veteran?,’ with deep respect and understanding of the veterans’ importance, their dedication and critical need by our society. And Pastor (Danny) Penny, whose church hosed the celebration, always makes everyone feel comfortable and welcome. His heartfelt greetings and warm, down-to-earth style of communicating with people made everyone feel like they were a part of a family gathered to share, learn and show appreciation for our Stanley-area veterans.”
Mahovsky also praised Stanley Pentecostal’s church musicians.
“The quality of the singing and music was extremely professional,” he said. “When Chris Lynch played the melody and Barry Summey sang ‘Arlington,’ some were brought to tears. When Levi Summey sang ‘God Bless the USA,’ the audience was seen singing, waving their hands. Many said they had never heard that song sung that well or with that depth of meaning in the voice of the person singing it. It was extremely motivational and much appreciated! All the musicians performed very professionally.”
Capping things off was Rev. Wesley Frye of Christ’s Lutheran Church, also in downtown Stanley.
“He closed the cerebration with a profound benediction,” said Mahovsky.
More about the Stanley Cemetery Ancestry Fund
With his close-cropped white hair, military bearing and proud patriotism, many mistake Mahovsky for a veteran himself.
But he dispelled that misconception. Mahovsky actually hails from the worlds of education and business. He simply comes from a family with a proud record of military service, as he revealed, and he believes in honoring all veterans.
“I am not a veteran,” he said, “but I have many family members who are veterans. One in particular saved me from drowning when I was a very young child. I am a person who has a passion for information about all the wars our country has fought, and that passion has caused me to have enormous respect and appreciation for our veterans. I am of the belief that I would have been a better person sooner in my life, had I joined the armed forces.”
Mahovsky also further explicated the Stanley Cemetery Ancestry Fund, which is so crucial to the future preservation of this enormous graveyard. Adjacent Christ’s Lutheran Church, it is the final resting place of some 111 veterans. It dates back to Stanley’s earliest days, more than two centuries ago.
At the veterans’ celebration, Mahovsky spoke not only of the importance of our veterans but also how the Stanley Cemetery Ancestry Fund will honor them by installing an American flag in the Stanley Cemetery in the near future. The organization will also work in partnership with Wreaths Across America by collaborating with Detective Judy Billings of the Stanley Police Department and the American Heritage Girls (Billings’s daughter, Chloe, is a veteran of this group) on Dec. 19, placing wreaths on the gravesites of veterans in three local cemeteries: the Stanley Cemetery and those of Springfield Memorial Baptist and Mt. Pleasant United Methodist churches.
Those wanting to support the work of the Stanley Cemetery Ancestry Fund may send contributions to:
The Stanley Cemetery Ancestry Fund
c/o Treasurer Thomas Deese
P.O. Box 772
Stanley, NC 28164.