Posted on

Tartaglione, Dawkins Bring Million Dollar Allocation to Frankford Veterans’ Post

Happy Veterans Day – Post 224

Omelets, waffles and an extraordinary funding announcement were all on the menu when state Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione and state Rep. Jason Dawkins cooked breakfast for the members of Lloyd C. Wilson Jr. Memorial American Legion Post 224 on Veterans Day. The lawmakers revealed that they had successfully obtained a $1 million allocation for physical improvements to the post as part of Pennsylvania’s recently enacted capital budget for fiscal year 2017-18.

Along with Post members are Sen. Tartaglione holding flag, Rep. Dawkins in standing in red shirt, Post Commander Guy D. Lewis is second from right. To the left of Rep. Dawkins is Leon Brantley – Frankford Gazette Veterans affairs adviser.

“I’ve been coming here for a long, long time. This is like home,” Tartaglione told the veterans and their guests. “There are other posts in my district, but this is the one I’ve been coming to the longest. This is the one I know the best. And I really want to thank you for your service.”

“We’re here to say, ‘Thank you. We really appreciate your service,’” Dawkins said. “But we want to take it a step farther. Together, we put in for a million-dollar allocation so we can start renovating and we can start acquiring other pieces to make this into the place we know it should be.”

The allocation will be tied to $1 million in matching funds that must be obtained from other sources. Tartaglione and Dawkins are confident that one or more private-sector organizations will contribute to the worthy cause.

“The first step has already passed the legislature. The governor has signed it. It’s allocated for Post 224,” Dawkins said.

Founded in 1987, the post is home to about 50 American Legion members representing all five U.S. military branches, along with about 40 members of its sons division and about 20 members of its ladies’ auxiliary. Located at 2006 Orthodox St., the post has had veterans of all major military conflicts dating back to World War I on its membership rolls.

But the building is in need of significant improvements, according to Commander Guy D. Lewis. Members have been growing their own building fund in recent months. The state allocation will provide their ongoing efforts with a major boost.

“We have needs from bottom to top, inside and outside, interior and exterior,” Lewis said. “This was a total surprise. It’s like a dream come true.”

Posted on

Veteran of the Month James Madden

James Madden was born in 1932 and attended St. Boniface grade school and Mastbaum High School.

He enlisted in the Navy when he was 17 in September of 1950.  After basic training he was assigned to the attack amphibious transport USS Menifee APA-202, based in Long Beach, CA.    From April 1951 to March 1952, the Menifee ferried troops between Japan and Korea and within Korean waters for the distribution of United Nations forces. During that time Jim visited Japan, Hong Kong and Hawaii.

USS Menifee

He was honorably discharged in November of 1953 and went to work, first at the Stetson Hat factory and then for Progress Lighting.

He married Dolores and together they have 5 sons and 1 daughter with 15 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren. They have lived on Paul Street in Frankford since about 1957.

He retired in 2003 and has enjoyed his retirement while keeping active with family and church activities at St. Joachim.

Jim Madden, We thank you for your service.


Posted on

Veteran of the Month – Leonard B. Brantley

Leonard B. Brantley was born on February 12th, 1948 in the Northeast section of Philadelphia. Lenny, as he was known, attended Hamilton Disston Elementary School and went to Lincoln High School and also Philadelphia Community College. Lenny was baptized at an early age at Star of Hope Baptist Church in Tacony.

Leonard B. Brantley

Lenny joined the U.S. Navy in 1966 and was shipped to Great Lakes, Illinois for his basic training. Upon completion of his basic training, he was assigned to various ships and traveled to many Naval bases around the world. During the Vietnam war, he was assigned to an anti-aircraft ship in the Asian seas.

Lenny received various medals and certificates  and was promoted to the rank of P. O. (Petty Officer) 3rd class. Lenny served for 3 years and was honorably discharged for medical reasons.  Lenny was employed at various jobs such as Acme Metal, ATT Metal Company and then went to work for the U.S. Postal Service.

He loved to travel New York and Vegas.   He loved the nightlife and nightclub scene. He was the life of every party or family gathering. Lenny was a sharp dresser and loved the Arts, haircutting and hair styling. He was very much loved by his family and friends and he will be greatly missed.

Rest in peace Lenny and thank you for your service.

Posted on

Veteran of the Month—Junius A. Johnson

Philadelphia is a city like so many large, populous cities in America with economic and crime problems which trickle down to young people who want to do the right thing.  But sometimes they get caught up in the negative ways of life.

Most young women who made mistakes, especially those who become single parents, will do whatever is necessary to raise their children the right way. When Junius A. Johnson was born on December 3, 1997 in the wild, wild West (West Philadelphia), a new sheriff was in town (his mother, Wanda Johnson).  She decided she wasn’t gonna let the claws of the street get a hold of her son.

She put Juju, as he was known, into St. Donato Charter school where he became an honor roll student. He continued on the honor roll at Freire Charter High School and then attended Widener University for his bachelor degree in criminal justice. While in those schools he joined R.O.T.C. (Reserve Officer Training Corps).

To avoid being involved in a street gang, Juju decided to join the largest gang in America, the U.S. Army, an organization of people trained to protect the values and lives of the people of America and countries that ask for help. Juju enlisted on November 7, 2016 and attended basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia and advanced training at Fort Gordon, Georgia.  His current rank is Private First Class (PFC).

Juju loves community service around the city, including being a camp counselor for years. He also loves tutoring and being a guide at Mercy Philadelphia Hospital.  Juju also loves anything Army related.

Visiting his grandmom, listening to her old-school philosophy and her religious ways of doing the right thing, is a real blessing.  Juju loves what he has accomplished and how proud he has made his mother and family feel.

Junius A. Johnson, stand tall and be proud and thank you for your service.


Posted on

Veteran of the Month—Ronald Wilkins

Ron Wilkins at age 19, Basic Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

Ronald Wilkins was born on June 20th, 1947 in the city of Philadelphia. Ron attended school in the Philadelphia educational system and went to Charles Elementary and other grade schools and graduated from Bok Technical High School.

At the age of 19, in 1966, he was drafted into the US Army. He Was stationed at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. He finished his basic training and tours of duty. While serving he was awarded numerous awards and certificates and was promoted to the rank of Specialist Fourth Class (E4). Ron was honorably discharged in January of 1969.

Ron was employed in the Philadelphia Correctional system and is now retired. He spends most of his leisure time travelling on cruises and taking trips to Las Vegas. He loves playing card games and billiard tournaments and also volunteering in political activities. As a hobby loves doing real estate and he also acts as an auto consultant.

Ronald Wilkins, we thank you for your service.