Vet ties knot — at the tender age of 89

Staff photo by Mary Kemper Newlyweds Fred and Pat Quackenbush take a break at their home in the Cascades of St. Lucie West June 25.

Staff photo by Mary Kemper
Newlyweds Fred and Pat Quackenbush take a break at their home in the Cascades of St. Lucie West June 25.

Mary Kemper
Staff Writer
ST. LUCIE WEST ­— Fred R. Quackenbush, a World War II veteran who lives at the Cascades of St. Lucie West, loves to play tennis, walk and swim most days. He plays a mean sax, and he also sings many evenings.
Violet Patricia “Pat” Chesworth — now Pat Quackenbush — also a resident of the Cascades — is a talented soloist. Together, she and Fred hit the karaoke stages all around St. Lucie County.
With a birthday since the wedding he’s now 90, she’s 85. Proof that it’s never too late to find love — and a kindred spirit.
“We have a lot of things in common,” Pat, who comes from a family with a lot of military service, said June 25 in a chat at the newlyweds’ home.
Indeed, they begin tangents for each other, and finish each other’s sentences.
Both of them are musical, both wound up in Florida, and they even both had black dogs named “Sam” at one time.
So, after so many years, however did they meet?
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NPR report: federal government failed mustard-gas veterans

Photo by  National Museum of Health and Medicine Soldier with mustard gas burns on his back and arm

Photo by National Museum of Health and Medicine
Soldier with mustard gas burns on his back and arm

Patrick McCallister
For Veteran Voice
I love National Public Radio, NPR, but I’m a little leery on this bit of reporting: “The VA’s Broken Promise to Thousands of Vets Exposed to Mustard Gas.”
The 10-minute story aired on Tuesday, June 23. Investigative reporter Caitlin Dickerson described in detail what comes off as an apathetic and incompetent — bordering on malicious — Department of Veterans Affairs for two decades stonewalling about 4,000 survivors of deliberate and prolonged mustard gas exposure the military did during World War II. The Pentagon feared Nazi Germany resorting to mustard gas as a last-ditch effort to stave off the Allied advances, so it did tests on American service members to prepare for it. The ethics of that decision are easy to question 70 years later. But none of us know what we’d done if the decision was ours at the time.
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