The veterans of Disabled American Veterans Four Chaplains Chapter #161 held its inauguration on May 25 at the Channing Park Clubhouse in Lithia.
“There has never been a national veterans organization in this area till now,” said James Wright III, commander-elect and founder of Disabled American Veterans Four Chaplains Chapter #161. “We are so happy to have this group here in our area and be able to help veterans in our area as well.”
The story of the Four Chaplains is touching and a statement to helping fellow military members. The Four Chaplains, also referred to as the ‘Immortal Chaplains’ or the ‘Dorchester Chaplains,’ were four World War II chaplains who died rescuing civilian and military personnel as the American troop ship SS Dorchester sank on February 3, 1943 after being hit by a torpedo in what has been referred to as the second-worst sea disaster of WWII.
The Dorchester was a civilian liner converted for military service in World War II as a War Shipping Administration troop transport. It was able to carry slightly more than 900 military passengers and crew.
The four chaplains remained on the ship’s deck, standing together arms linked, heads bowed in prayer, as the Dorchester slipped beneath the waves. Their sacrifice would be remembered as one of the most heartbreaking stories of World War II. Their legacy continues to this day with the help of Wright and his executive board members.
“Since we are the first veterans group of this kind in the area, we are planning on growing and offering various services to our veterans,” Wright said.
During the inauguration event, Wright was sworn in along with treasurer Terry Husbands, membership chairman Juan Manco, judge advocate Todd Buchholz, Benefits Protection Team leader Josie Hamm and Chaplain Debra Davis.
Representatives from Senator Rick Scott and Congressman Vern Buchanan offices were on hand to welcome the group to the Lithia community.
“We want our local veterans to know we are here and we are here to help them with all their needs,” Wright said.
If you would like to learn more about the veterans of the Disabled American Veterans Four Chaplains Chapter #161, you can contact Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org. The chapter is working on holding its monthly meetings at the Channing Park Clubhouse.