There’s a special flagpole you’ll pass at the main entrance of Southern Delaware Therapeutic Riding that has more than a few stories to tell.
A 17-year-old boy who served our country in the Korean War and never returned is honored with a flagpole flying an American flag at the main entrance of Southern Delaware Therapeutic Riding (SDTR).
On a warm Saturday in late September that pole flew our flag over three other veterans – now serving as SDTR volunteers – being honored for their military service.
“Veterans appreciate being together, and serving a purpose,” said SDTR Veteran Outreach Coordinator and United States Air Force Chief Master Sergeant-Retired (CMSGT-RET) Dawn E. Peet, who created the Sept. 10 “Honoring SDTR Veterans and Their Families” event. “They wear their uniforms on the inside,” she added. “‘Born to Serve’ is a mantra many believe.”
Peet, who retired after 34 years in the Air Force, is the niece of US Army Private Thomas A. Peet, the young soldier who lost his life in North Korea. The elder Peet was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star, and in 2021, a special SDTR flagpole installed, and dedicated to his memory, by his niece. That flagpole stood behind her as she stood at the podium to welcome about 40 guests to the first SDTR “Honoring SDTR Veterans and Their Families” day with partners Quilts of Valor and SEAs The Day (another Veteran Program which was hosted at SDTR). Guests also Included SDTR Board Members, SDTR Volunteers, Veterans who volunteer at SDTR, families and friends as well as Delaware legislators Senator Ernie Lopez and Representative Steve Smyck. The centerpiece of the day was the Quilts of Valor ceremony in which the veteran recognition group presented each of three local veterans who volunteer at SDTR with unique hand-crafted quilts.
Nancy Thomson, Group Leader of Delaware Quilts of Valor, introduced each recipient with a story of their service and distinguished contributions to the military, after which each was given their unique quilt with a hug from the person who made it in their honor. These included:
- Johnnie M. Jackson, Army 1975-1986, SPC
- Ronald Mitchell, Army 1955-1961, rank undisclosed
- Robert E. Turner, Army 1984-1995, E5
Operation SEAs the Day veterans and their families also attended the day’s horseback riding lessons. Peet is especially grateful for the support of American Legion Post 17 in Lewes, which donated to fund the picnic following the Quilts of Valor ceremony.
“My hope and my goal is to build a camaraderie among our veteran volunteers in ways that allow them to continue a life of service after the military that benefits both veterans and the communities they live in,” Peet said.