Oscar Polster, Chapter 0049 Jr. Vice Commander, receives the San Diego County Veteran Lifetime Achievement Award for 2011. One of a few times I have seen Oscar surprised.
All “Sunny Jones Chapter 49” Patriots can take justifiable pride that the Chapter Veteran of the Year of 2011-2012, Patriot Oscar G. Polster, was honored at the 2011 Veteran of the Year Recognition Awards Ceremony on November 8, 2011with the award of the prestigious San Diego County “Veteran Lifetime Achievement Award” by the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center, and received a magnificent American Eagle and Banner statute in a presentation .
Oscar Polster is a truly quintessential American patriot who has lived his entire life in service to his country, his community, and fellow Veterans. Oscar is one of the most recognizable veteran volunteers in the entire San Diego region, by his 40 years of sustained service as a Disabled American Veteran pioneer and leader, and as a Veterans of Foreign Wars member and leader, and well as Military Order of the Purple Heart patriot and volunteer at the Veterans Hospital / VA Regional Medical Center. Oscar has completed another singularly dynamic and productive year of service to the community in 2011, despite his World War II service disability and his struggle against life-threatening health condition, and thus he merits the acclamation selection as the Veteran of the Year by the Military Order of the Purple Heart “Sunny Jones” Chapter 49 of San Diego, and is distinctly deserving of the Veterans Lifetime Achievement Award.
Oscar served in the U. S. Army from 1943 to 1946, and fought in the Battle of Okinawa with the 96th Infantry “Deadeye” Division against the fanatical enemy Japanese occupiers; he earned the Bronze Star for valorous conduct in combat and the Purple Heart for wounds that included loss of his right leg and drastic disability to his left leg and to his right arm. When Oscar was honorably discharged on a medical disability, he turned his disappointment for the lost opportunity for a career he had hoped for in the uniform of his country, into new purpose, and almost immediately joined Disabled American Veterans in 1947 at his hometown of St Louis, Missouri and carried out continuous life-long service as a veteran volunteer.
Today, Oscar proudly holds memberships in The Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH), The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and The Disabled American Veterans (DAV). He pioneered in many firsts for disabled veterans, notably in athletic competition and sports leagues for paraplegic and amputee athletes: Oscar was a pioneering member of a wheelchair basketball team in 1948 that became The "St. Louis Rolling Rams” and spurred the establishment and growth of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association, his original team sustaining as the oldest continuing wheelchair basketball team in the world.
These ground-breaking accomplishments by the earliest Veteran disabled and amputee athletes were the foundation and inspiration for modern programs such as Warrior Games and Olympics. Upon relocating to the west coast, Oscar energized the DAV San Diego chapter with his enthusiasm and determination, served in every office in the chapter, and ultimately expanded its outreach and service deliveries so extensively that he was called upon to receive the honor of reviewing US Navy Recruit Training Graduation Parades at Naval Training Center San Diego for during 1977 and 1978. His stalwart services as Adjutant of VFW Chapter 2111 Chula Vista supported the chapter’s flourishing in the 1970’s through the 1990’s, and thus helped strengthen the Chula Vista area’s Veterans support and awareness climate to the level that it became a natural choice for the location of a California state Veterans Home.
Oscar commenced his service to the Veterans Hospital in San Diego in 1972, and now proudly enjoys the status of continuously serving as U.S. Title 38 (Veteran’s Relief) Regular Volunteer for 39 years at the VA Hospital. By unsurpassed determination, Oscar has carried on, against impeding disabilities, to reach 18,500 Volunteer Service Hours in the hospital.
In his earliest phases of hospital service he fulfilled countless needed administration functions, producing essential documents for communication to patients and volunteers. His reliable presence and productivity as a volunteer in the hospital were vital to obtaining support to establish and equip the Volunteer Office that has grown and strengthened into the national model that it is today.
By consistently visiting and supporting patients and staff in the most crucial care wards and units and departments, he became one of the most fluent spokespersons about the experiences of patients and families during the terms of their care at the hospital. Oscar used his own personal experiences in his daily struggle to manage his disabilities and to carry on his endeavors in the cause of improving the realm of patient services as a store of comparative and contrasting positive and negative aspects of the actual delivery of care to patients and the administrative and logistic functions that both enabled and impeded total quality care.
Through his sharing practical options to improve the experience of patients and their loved ones, he was ever more effective and was consistently engaged by staff and physicians for his perspective and his hopes for advancements in patient services. Thus, he is called upon to be one of the hosts for visits by partnering institutions and medical professionals, such as the Navy Regional Medical Trauma Care Center Officer in Charge’s visit to VA Hospital Spinal Cord Injury Unit and the South Korean veterans care delegation visit, wherein Oscar’s insight to perceptions and effects to patients and families is highly valued by visitors and staff.
His consistent advocacy for as complete an array of patient services as possible contributed to successes such as gaining donations of uniquely equipped shuttle bus vehicle for movement of patients served by the Spinal Cord Injury Unit, as one example. The uniqueness of Oscar’s profound contributions through his sustained Volunteer services was recognized by many associated hospital stakeholders whose accounts of his endeavors resulted in the “The Chapel of Four Chaplains Foundation” 2006 presentation of the 2006 Legion of Honor Award, which is respected globally for it prestigious character.
Oscar’s commitment to make every possible enhancement to quality of life experiences of patients also led him to accept responsibility to serve as Volunteer Financial Officer for the Veteran Affairs Volunteer Services (VAVS) Welfare Fund that is supported by monetary donations to that benevolent purpose, and he has flawlessly executed that responsibility for fourteen years, to sustain immensely valued services and opportunities for patients that are provided exclusively by the donation funds. His furtherance of both the benefit fund and the social quality of the institutional environment is best exemplified by his 30 year leading role in the annual Holiday Bazaar every December, with a vast and treasurable array of crafts and goods offered for donations to the welfare funds. All who know of his service to the hospital VAVS fund are encouraged that Oscar led the Bazaar donation effort again this year.
Oscar’s daily inspiration to his fellow Veteran patients, as well as to his fellow Volunteers, is now the immeasurable and profound contribution that is most appreciated by all. And, almost heroically, he added another Volunteer responsibility in his life this year by accepting election to the office of Junior Vice-Commander of Chapter 49 MOPH and sharing in a continuing invigoration of Chapter endeavors including, a record year of giving MOPH Welfare Fund resources to needy Veterans in the San Diego region. His assuring grin graces the Chapter website display of 2011 officers, to our everlasting pride.
Story submitted by: Jack Harkins, USMC Retired
Senior Vice Commander, MOPH Chapter 49
November 9, 2011
Website updated: 21 November 2011: 17:30
On December 7, 2010, 09:30 a.m., the City Council of San Diego, California was called to order by Council President Tony Young. This would be a council meeting of note because one of Chapter 0049 Patriots was the prime subject of the Council’s agenda. Patriot Lewis E. Meyer of El Cajon, CA, was being recognized by the City of San Diego, the Mayor and the Council for his dedication of a life of public service. Councilwoman Marti Emerald would lead the tribute to Patriot Meyer.
Chapter 0049 was in attendance with approximately 8 members to witness the event. The audience was rounded off with family, friends, other patriotic organizations and citizens of the community. As councilwoman Emerald began to recount the many contributions of Patriot Meyer and as she reached the period of 1967 there would not be a dry eye among us. The proclamation reads, in part:
"WHEREAS, In 1967. Fire Chief Meyer volunteered to serve in South Vietnam as a Fire Protection Specialist and was captured in 1968 by the
North Vietnamese during the Tet Offensive. Meyer was held as a Prisoner of War for the next five years, during which he was been and
Held in solitary confinement for two years despite a heroic escape attempt; AND”
WHEREAS, While being held as a Prisoner of War, Fire Chief Meyer never lost sight of the Military Code of Conduct and served as an
inspiration to his fellow Prisoners of War. In March 1973, Chief Meyer was marched out of the Hanoi Hilton and to freedom as part of
Operation Homecoming; AND”
WHEREAS, Lewis Meyer never missed a beat returning to his duties as a Fire Officer for the Department of Defense, where he was honored
With the Exemplary Career Award in 2004 and an inscription on the Wall of Honor in the Pentagon’s new wing, rebuilt after the original
Section was destroyed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack; ….”
Family, friends, citizens and chapter members all gathered around to congratulate Patriot Meyer and to wish him the best in life. Patriot Meyer proceeded to thank everyone, profusely, and then he proceeded to catch the elevator to the basement of city hall, the parking garage, and the quieter climes of east county San Diego.
Click here to view text of Proclamation.
Chapter 0049 wishes to personally thank Patriot Meyer for accepting the recent appointment as chapter 0049’s First Responder Coordinator. As such Lew will be the point-of-contact whenever there is a casualty in the Fire or Police community. Congratulations, Sir.
Click here to be taken to Officer Section. Arrow to bottom of page.
PATRIOT DON COULSON
This is the second in a series of articles intended to introduce senior-level members of Chapter 0049 to our audiences. These members will tend to be WWII and Korean War veterans and the purpose is to bring to light their lives and history in an introductory manner.
Today, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Patriot Don Coulson of Chapter 0049. Don is a World War II veterans who is a member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. Although Don join the Order recently (February 15, 2010), it just goes to show that it is never too late to become a member of Chapter 0049.
A recent picture of Don at his home.
Don entered military service in the summer of 1942 into the Army Air Corps and by the fall of that same year found himself in England, as a administrative clerk. Looking for adventure and some combat experience, Don found an opportunity with a British bomber group flying out of Liverpool, England. After a period of hospitalization on missions with the Brits, Don was grounded and put in the Ninth Infantry Division and then immediately transferred to France, where he was assigned to K company of the 47th Infantry Division.
Don Coulson has had an "interesting" life and it is one that he has been reluctant to talk about. He has been described as "...feisty, imprudent, and incorrigible...." and that is only a few descriptors of him. Those descriptions along with a few others still desribe him today. Personally, I would add: caring, opinionated, generous, and a stout-hearted patriot to round out this patriot.
His life story is published in a book written by by Lewis H. Carlson, entitled: " 'We Were Each Other's Prisions': An Oral History of World War II American and German Prisioners of War." (Published by Basic Books, 1997) In this book, L. H. Carlson recounts the history how Don ended up "... in Dachau as a 'political prisioner' because he clearly had an attitude problem --especially during interrogations...." (Page 187-193)
At Dachau, "... he became a Sonderkommando, transporting bodies to the crematoria. In the book, he describes chilling stories about killer dogs, brutal guards, and the smells of death. For forty years, Coulson refused to talk about his experiences except to disinterested government authorities. But President Ronald Reagan's 1985 visit to Bitsburg, Germany, to commemorate a military cemetery in which a number of SS soldiers were buried, changed Coulson's mind. (See the footnote on this event at page 187). After all, it was the SS that was responsible for the horrors he witnessed and suffered, and now it was time to speak out."
Images taken by: Michael R. Mantell, PhD. (Bob Holloway with Purple Heart emblem on sweater.)
PATRIOT BOB HOLLOWAY
This is the third in a series-of-articles intended to introduce senior-level members of Chapter 0049 to our audiences. These members will tend to be WWII and Korean War veterans and the purpose is to bring to light their lives and history in an introductory manner.
Today, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Patriot Bob Holloway of Chapter 0049. Bob is a Korean War veteran, who is a member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. Although Bob join the Order recently (December of 2008), he lives a full life of volunteerism belonging to numerous organizations in San Diego, CA. In fact, just this recent week, the Examiner.com and Michael Mantell, the San Diego Life Coach Examiner, wrote a feature article on Patriot Holloway and his zeal for public service work in San Diego.
While Bob may be a man in his 70s, he has the zest and enthusiam of a much, much younger man. Bob's military career has the distinction of being wounded in Korea and having his Purple Heart pinned on his chest while lying on a gurney by the vernerable Marine Corps General "Chesty" Puller." For a marine, the distinction doesn't come any higher.
Nevertheless, in the March 26, 2011 feature article, Michael Mantell highlights Bob's latest achievement of becoming a volunteer guide with San Diego's famed Mission Trails Regional Park. In a discussion last week, Bob intoned to me that he had embarked on a course of study that involved months of preparation on flora, fauna, fungi, and plant-life that are native to San Diego. And that he was preparing to take a test of the subject-matter in order to become a docent and guide at Mission Trails.
Bob passed the test with "flying colors" and will become one of its most valuable guides. CONGRATS!! CONGRATS!! CONGRATS!! Well done, sir. Oh, by the way, did I mention that Bob also possesses a PhD in divinity, among several other accolades.
Story updated: March 28, 2011
VOLUNTEERISM CAN BE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH re: San Diego Magazine.com
Find more information about Bob Holloway and volunteerism at the following site.
Story updated: March 31, 2011: 22:00
January 4, 2011, marks exactly one-year since chapter 0049 (The Sunny Jones Chapter) went "live" on the world wide web. It has been a wild, wild run but it has also been exhilerating and to some degree -- fun. We started off the year with the goal of making this a communication tool with some great Purple Heart products that we would use to establish our e-commerce bona fides. Those products consisted of flags, scrolls and other Purple Heart mementos for sale as "non-profits" for the benefit of the chapter and other veterans.
Well, we know what happen to that vision. It was smashed in less than 45 days. We found a great manufacturer and the data shows that we defined a great market for our products. The traffic to the e-commerce tab on the site proves that fact.
Unfortunately, other factors in the MOPH community found it necessary to smash the dream.
So, we revised our vision. Instead of a multi-focused approach based on information about veterans issues and e-commerce sales, we focused on making the web site more MOPH-centric and the San Diego veteran community. This approach resulted in a more sharpened and honed approach.
Surprisingly, when I asked Yahoo! Small Business for some data on the traffic to our web site, I was "blown away" with the information that they provided back to me. The site pages were visited more than 7,800 times in the year. In fact, the actual number is 7,867 pages over the 12-month period.
Exhibit A is a random "run chart" that tracks traffic to the web site from November 7, 2010 - November 20, 2010. Over this 14-day period, we had 382 visits to the site, producing an average of over 27.8 visits per day.
Exhibit B is also a random "run chart" that shows the traffic to be consistent for a similar period and time-frame. In this case, the period is December 25th to January 7, 2011. Over a similar 14-day period, there were 386 viewing over the 14-days resulting in an average viewing of 26.2 per day.
Exhibit C is the site statistics for the period of one (1) year, beginning 4 January 2010 to 4 January 2011. This data point reflects the total pages reviewed on the site.
Exhibit D reflects the most important data point. The bar graph indicates the most reviewed and read areas were: (a) Veterans Focus: Issues (820 hits); the Chapter 2009/2010 Bulletins (520 hits); the Chapter Calendar (400 hits); Chapter Officers (420 hits); Special Recognition (415 hits) and the Commander's Message receiving just under 300 hits.
*Note: The Non-Profit Purchases (e-commerce) data reflects only 45 days (Jan. 04 - Feb. 20, 2010) before being taken down by an edit from the National office. While it reflects a strong 590 viewings, this is an area that we do not plan to pursue in the future.
Chapter 0049 will review this data in Executive Session and decide where to focus our energy for futrure improvements. We thank all the loyal members who have visited the site and we promise to continue to provide you with information that is non-polarized. Thanks for your patronage.
Ulysses Miller, Jr.,
Commander, Chapter 49
San Diego, CA
NOTE: All images are capable of being enlarged by moving your cursor to the bottom right of the picture - and then clicking on the (+) sign in the bottom right corner. A separate window will be opened for viewing.
The day was November 8, 2011 and the San Diego County Veteran of the Year luncheon was scheduled for 11:30 a.m. The doors of the Scottish Rite Center in Mission Valley were thrown open and a massive crowd of attendees swarmed into a great fare of food and camraderie. I am attaching a scanned version of the program to encourage you to attend next year's fete.
Click here for program.
The 2-hour program started on time and everything functioned like a clockwork. The Veterans Museum and Memorial Center (VMMC), who sponsors this event, has put in a massive amount of time, effort and fund-raising each year to pull these events off. Hats off to them.
But this story is about our man-of- hour, Patriot Oscar Polster. For Oscar is quite the guy and if you don't know him by now, you are about to ... "Meet Oscar Polster" and Chapter 0049.
L-R: Ladies Aux. Charlotte Miller; Mrs. Oscar Polster; Patriot O. Polster; and Chaplain Bob Holloway.
L-R: Patriot Holloway; Mrs. Andre LeCault; Patriot Andre LeCault; standing Sr. V-Cmdr. Jack Harkins; seated Commander Joe Petrini; and Ladies Aux. Pres. Mrs. Diane Petrini.
L-R: Allen Wissinger; Joseph Petrini; Lindwood Boyd; Andre LeCault; Ulysses Miller; Bobby Holloway; Angel Aviles; Jack Harkins; Seated: R-L: Oscar Polster; Mrs. Polster; Mrs. Charlotte Miller; Mrs. Doreen LeCault; and Mrs. Diane Petrini.
Adm. Melendez, Assemblywoman Toni Atkins and Hon. Bob Filner presents 2011-12 Award to Oscar Polster.
Oscar receives the Lifetime Achieve- ment Award for 2011-2012.
Oscar out front with the award.
Closing of the program with prior-year awardees on stage.
Thanks for your attention.
Early Patriots In Attendance at City Council Meeting. L-R.: Patriot Bob Quimby, Patriot Linwood Boyd; LAMOPH Mrs. Charlotte Miller, and Patriot Bob Holloway.
Chapter 49 Patriots share a repartee of humor before the presentation. L-R: Patriots L. Meyer and R. Quimby.
Lew along with Councilwoman Marti Emerald share some public admirations before presentation.
Presentation of Proclamation making December 7, 2010, "Lew Meyer Day in San Diego."
Family, Friends, Citizens and Chapter Patriots to witness the ceremony.
"We Were Each Other's Prisioners: An Oral History of World War II American And German Prisoners of War"
Author: Lewis H. Carlson
Don leads a quiet life of retirement in East San Diego County. He has been a member of several veterans organizations, including the ex-POW Chapter #2: VFW, Chapter 2195; DAV, Chapter #2, and MOPH, Chapter #0049.
Don Coulson, approximately 1945-1946, after release from POW camp. It appears that he is under 100 pounds in this photo.
Don relaxing on his 89th birthday, January 8, 2011. Many happy returns of the day, sir.
Bob at 2011 Veterans Day Parade. Image by: U. Miller
Bob and Mrs. Holloway
Bob and the coveted Certificate out among Mission Trails Park
To read more about the interests and background of Bob Holloway and Mission Trails, pleaseclick on the following link.
When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day is not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and 2 cups of coffee.
A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly and the pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was. The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.
He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous "yes." The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed. "Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things - God, family, children, health, friends, and favorite passions - things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, house, and car. The sand is everything else - the small stuff. "If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls."
The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. So, pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.
"Take care of the golf balls first - the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled.
"I'm glad you asked". "It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."
* Story adapted from: Chapter 9, MOPH Greater Pittsburgh, Scott C. Havelka, Adjutant. *
** Some things that I learned in kindergarten and along life's pathway. **
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