Little did they know that their small gesture of getting coffee would lead to a big event? Former area teacher Robyn Charles, along with current teachers Cathy Fisher and Rachel DiStasio visited the National D-Day Memorial in April to hear eight World War 2 veterans give talks and presentations at a reenactment called “Prelude to Invasion”. The three noticed that some of the veterans were asking for coffee, but there was none around to offer.
Asking around, the teachers were told that there was coffee for sale in the gift shop. The teachers immediately went for coffee and were told that if the coffee was for the veterans, they didn’t have to charge it. The teachers arranged with the volunteers in the educational office to make coffee available for the day. The vets were happy to get the drinks and some even called for “the coffee girls” and joked that they wanted a bit of brandy in their coffee.
Later in the morning, the teachers overheard talk about getting sandwiches for lunch and again they went into action. Fisher talked with Jeff Bush, a coordinator for the Roanoke 8th Air Force WW2 Historical Society, to find out more information to help with food and drinks for the veterans. Bush had some funds available for lunch and the teachers arranged for the pick-up and serving. Charles, Fisher, and DiStasio decided they would arrange to feed the veterans as they could. Bush and the others were very appreciative. According to Bush, the next veterans event was set for July and the Memorial would be delighted to have the teachers organize and have lunch provided.
Charles, Fisher, and DiStasio went into action, calling on fellow Spotsylvania County teachers Penny Anderson and Theresa Tempesta to help with the July event. Since the teachers volunteered to feed about thirty, the menu was planned for pastries and coffee for breakfast and then barbecue sandwiches for lunch. DiStasio couldn’t make the July event, but Charles, Fisher, Anderson, and Tempesta set up a food station with the help of Martin Leamy, Site Facilities Manager at the D-Day Memorial. With matching “Rosie the Riveter” tees, planned by Charles, the ladies spent a hot and rewarding day helping to feed the veterans.
With donations from the teachers, along with funds from Fredericksburg’s Preserve Your Journey and the Virginia Nu Chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa, the teachers brought serving utensils, coffee and crock pots, several pounds of pasta salad and coleslaw, and dozens of pastries, cookies, and snacks. Tempesta stated that it was “an honor to feed these amazing World War II veterans. Seeing them and talking to them was humbling”. Fisher said that the veterans “truly are the greatest generation”. The teachers are looking forward to the next opportunity to feed the vets.
For donation information to the National D-Day Memorial, click here.