DANSVILLE — This has been a labor of love for the hospital community for several years now, and it just keeps growing.
On Nov. 1, UR Medicine/Noyes Health unveiled this year’s Veterans Honor Wall with 200 veterans in the spotlight.
Brenda Hoag, Noyes Health Information Systems Assistant, has a passion for veterans as over 20 members of her family are on the Honor Wall.
Hoag started this project a few years back as a way to honor local veterans, and to hear the stories of the people who gave us our freedom.
This same wall is duplicated at the Geneseo Noyes Hospital. People are encouraged to come and visit the 200 veterans who fought for our rights at both hospitals. Once there, you will have the opportunity to take a little veteran toy back to your home or office.
Some veterans on the wall were available to see the honor firsthand. The Cornbau Family is represented on the wall.
US Army Veteran Kristy Cornbau, of Dansville, has her husband and two sons on the wall with her.
“My father worked here (Noyes) for many years. I had all these photos packed away of our time in service,” she said. “Both of my sons are in the US Air Force. One of them is stationed in Alaska right now. He really loves it there, because he has always loved the outdoors. Both of them have traveled all over the world.”
Cornbau found her passion for the US Army when she was in college, and wanted to have more adventures. She spent four years on that adventure. One of those years was spent in Korea.
“I really love the tribute to the veterans,” she said. “I love seeing all of my boys on the wall with me.”
Cornbau has taught her sons that a hometown is what really matters.
“One important thing about the service is you get to see what it is like for others all over the world. Suddenly the small town you grew up in is where you want to return,” she said. “My boys are seeing other places, and will come back and be content here. They won’t search for greener grass anymore, because they will know this is the green grass.”
Hoag mentioned this is a labor of love for her, and she plans on extending it every year. The wall just keeps growing and growing with powerful stories.
“It is amazing to read about these people, and share the incredible things they have done,” she said. “This is history on the wall. This is the whole reason why we are free.”
Mary Sue Dehn, Noyes Health Public Relations director, said this wall really shows the power of the community within the hospital.
“The employees work here, live here, raise their children here, and have a very proud tradition of service,” she said. “It doesn’t surprise me that we have so many people on this wall.”
Hoag receives an overwhelming amount of veterans for the wall every year, and with it comes a little story of the photo, the veteran, and why they are part of the wall.
“One really unique story on the wall this year is Eunice Young and Robert Schubmehl. Eunice was a prisoner of war in World War II. Robert was one of them who was sent in to rescue her and the others,” she said. “Eunice was from Arkport and Robert was from Wayland. I wonder if they knew about each other. There is a book written about this called Band of Angels. It is about the nurses held prisoner in Japan.”
Hoag said that they like to change it up every year so it is not the same thing all the time. This year they focused on some Purple Heart recipients.
One of the saddest stories on the wall involves Larry Hatter, a Vietnam War Veteran, who lost his life on a mission on Feb. 18, 1971 at the young age of 21. On June 17, 2018 his mother, Sarah, was there 47 years later to receive his Purple Heart. Hatter was honored by the AMVETS Post 245 with the Purple Heart he should’ve gotten four decades ago.
Another sad local story involves young Airman Alexandria Gleason Morrow who lost her life on duty on March 21, 2017 at the age of 25. Her last photo with her husband and daughters is on the Honor Wall.
“Every single one of these people on the wall has a story,” Hoag said. “This is our way of saying thank you to all who served. People are proud and want to get their relatives on the wall.”
Shirley Stewart said that she is very proud her aunt Eunice Young is on the wall. She was a POW from 1943 to 1945.
“I am very proud of her, and I am glad to see her being recognized,” she said. “Brenda did an amazing job putting this all together. My aunt Eunice was a nurse in the Philippines. She got her training in Arizona. She went in when the war broke out like a lot of nurses did.”
Dehn said that people who come in and out of the hospital will spend several minutes looking at the wall.
“This is a walk through history,” she said. “It is amazing to see people come in during the month, and they stop by the wall to say thank you.”