People in the Dover area are planning a birthday celebration and have been requesting cards for a World War II veteran who served in the Navy and was part of the Sicilian campaign.
Frank West turns 100 on Tuesday.
West lives at Wentworth Home on Central Avenue in Dover. Friend Malcolm Kenney, of South Berwick, Maine, said West moved to the facility next to the hospital about six years ago.
Prior to that, West used to live across from the Post Office and would eat daily at Harvey’s Bakery and Coffee Shop.
“Frank and I have been friends for years through the VFW,” Kenney said on Thursday morning.
Kenney is holding an in-person celebration for West on Tuesday and is also hopeful people will send cards to West at his assisted living home.
“Frank’s mind is probably sharper than mine, even at 100,” said the 82-year-old Kenney. “I’m honored to be able to do this.”
Kenney is thrilled to be working with Marga Coulp, who helped to organize a similar event for Ray Goulet of Portsmouth when he turned 98 in January.
Coulp said she would be bringing a basket on Tuesday so people who turn out to celebrate West’s special day from the sidewalk across the street from the assisted living home can place their cards in it.
Coulp is hopeful people will bring signs and American flags. She is also planning to bring a Navy flag.
“I’d like to see a good presence for him so he sees a lot of flags. It’s all about Frank,” Coulp said.
West was sworn in with the Navy on Aug. 28, 1942, according to his records. He earned a European Theatre Ribbon with one star, an Asiatic Pacific Ribbon with five stars, a Philippine Liberation Ribon with two stars, an American Theatre Ribbon and a Victory Ribbon.
His date of separation is listed as Jan. 21, 1946, according to his records.
“This guy is a real hero,” Kenney said.
In a copy of a newspaper from Millville, NJ, dated Aug. 23, 1943, West was featured talking while on leave. He was back from the Sicilian campaign.
West said he was assigned as signalman and machine gun operator to a 36-foot vehicle ramp. It was the duty of his crew to deliver their cargo of ammunition and men to the beach.
“I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything in the world,” West told the reporter. He was 21 years old at the time.
Dover’s Citizen of the Year, Matt Mayberry, is planning to be at the birthday celebration for West held across the street from Wentworth Home.
On Thursday morning, Mayberry posted a card request on Facebook and shared the address for the facility.
People who want to send cards can address them to:
c/o Wentworth Home
795 Central Avenue
Dover, NH, 03820
Contact Managing News Editor Kimberley Haas at [email protected]
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