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Community

THE HONOR FLIGHT: Military service is a family affair

Spring Valley family sent four brothers to serve

Students gather around Army veteran Leroy Dzierzynski Thursday to listen to his recollections about his time in the service, during his visit to Washington, D.C., as part of the 48th Honor Flight of the Quad Cities.
Students gather around Army veteran Leroy Dzierzynski Thursday to listen to his recollections about his time in the service, during his visit to Washington, D.C., as part of the 48th Honor Flight of the Quad Cities.

Sending off a loved one to serve their country is always an emotional strain on a family.

The experiences that lie ahead become family stories to cherish for the years that follow.

History holds stories of brothers serving in the military with stories of sons lost, like the Sullivan brothers who all perished on the USS Juneau during the first battle of Guadalcanal in World War II ranking as one of the most memorable.

A family that may not make any history books but deserves a salute of appreciation is the Dzierynski family of Spring Valley.

Walter headed the family and was the first of the family to serve as he participated in the Army beginning in 1918.

His strong Polish background instilled into his sons that “you will fight for the country” and this is mentioned when recall is gathered from son Harold.

The Lee County Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. on May 30 included four of the sons of Walter, and the day’s activities surfaced many memories and provided bonding time that only the military memorials they visited together could generate.

Lawrence, 72 (Air Force), LeRoy, 83 (Army), Harold, 85 (Navy), and Robert, 87 (Army), were accompanied by assigned Honor Flight guardians Roger Harrison and Jean Delhotal.

Memories from the day’s activities were a challenge for any single veteran to absorb, but the Dzierynski brothers were gathering memories to take home to a waiting family that over the years have served in the military for a collective total of 127 years.

The list of the family’s patriotic members covers generations of commitment to the Army, Navy and Air Force and includes sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters and brother-in-laws.

As the Honor Flight agenda closed and final boarding was taking place, Harold Dzierynski was asked to summarize the day and what message he would take home to the awaiting family. He paused, taking a moment to clear his throat.

“The day was too much to convey in a few words. I need time to digest what I experienced today.”

Whatever message Harold takes home, it will be received by relatives who understand because they have worn the uniform and made the commitment to serve their country with pride.

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