WENATCHEE — Vern Lietz was one of the several hundred military veterans who showed up at the veterans stand down held at the Wenatchee National Guard Armory last Friday and Saturday.
And he was probably one of the oldest.
Lietz, 90, retired Nov. 1, 1966, as a major after serving 24 years in the military. He joined the U.S. Army Air Force at the age of 19 in December 1942, the height of World War II. Now living in Peshastin with his wife of 62 years, Helen, Lietz served in India and Germany and at five U.S. military bases.
Christine Robinson, a co-organizer of the stand down, said Lietz was one of several WWII veterans to attend the event. He got a hair cut, a bag of free military clothing and other surplus equipment, and an opportunity to learn about dozens of benefits and opportunities available to veterans and their dependents. About 30 booths were set up to offer free medical and dental exams and a wide assortment of services and information, Robinson said.
About 2,400 veterans and their family members attended this year’s two-day event, said Thad Lawson, co-organizer. That was less than the 3,000 he said he was hoping for, but more than the three previous years the stand down has been held in Wenatchee.
“It was a good turn out. We had people come from as far away as Seattle, Tri-Cities and a lot from Yakima. We have a really good reach,” Lawson said.
Robinson said people were lined up out the door of the armory waiting to get in on Friday, but tapered off Saturday, probably due to daylong rain.