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Military Traditions

October 28, 2021 By Vern Chong

Gathering Military Memories at Paradise Valley Estates

During the planning of the construction of Paradise Valley Estates, a member of the founding NCROC Board of Directors noted that there was no space allocated or planned for a bar or cocktail lounge. Whether Life Plan Communities usually have a bar or not was not the issue. The founding Board members were all retired military officers and not having a bar was unacceptable. Subsequently, space was made for what we know as The Club. Lt. Colonel John DeRonde, an attorney and former judge, was the founding board member who pointed out the oversight. You may have noted that The Club is dedicated to him on a plaque posted outside of the entrance.

Those of us who were military members will remember “The Club.” Whether at our home base on TDY (Temporary Duty) or on leave, we could go to a club for socialization and dinner. It was a comfortable place, especially when away from home. We socialized with fellow military members and spouses. At PVE, our lounge or bar is also lovingly known as The Club. We also socialize, reminisce, and enjoy our fellow residents. We thank our founding Board members for their foresight in providing us with The Club.

The concept of the Wall of Remembrance originated with Ray Tylutki, Commander USN (Ret). In 1998, he came up with the idea of a Wall of Remembrance in The Club. He wrote to the Resident Council stating: “We are approaching the end of time. It’s nice to be surrounded by some of the action we experienced in wartime. We are veterans at home now.” His concept was approved, and a committee formed. The initial committee members: Bud DeLong, Russ Bowen, Jim Wirrick, and Hilda Helmer. Residents donated or loaned pictures and plaques to be placed on the walls. Today, the Wall of Remembrance Committee is comprised of residents and spouses who served in the various military services.

Each of the military services is represented by the mementoes included in the Wall of Remembrance. Many are personal remembrances and others are general in nature. There are photographs of military members, airplanes, ships, places, collages of events, collages of individuals, plaques, and an assortment of other memories. The mementoes have been cataloged with descriptions or brief explanations.

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