GI LOVE STORIES - Hempstead Town Holds Valentine’s Day Wedding Renewals for Veterans with Great Wartime Love Stories

The fighter planes at the American Airpower Museum in Farmingdale are no strangers to the sky, having flown missions above Europe, Asia and the Middle East during the great wars of the past century. But this Valentine’s Day, only love will be in the air as Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray renews wedding vows for couples, with at least half the participants having served in World War II, Vietnam, Korea and the Middle East.

“Our veterans have proved, time and time again, the commitment and love they have for our great nation,” Murray said. “It is therefore fitting that this Valentine’s Day, we focus on the love and commitment our veterans and their spouses have for one another.”

Couples representing every major military conflict will be celebrating their love today during an event Supervisor Murray has dubbed, “GI Love Stories.” Among those renewing their vows are two Iraq veterans who met on the battlefield, a couple who fell in love during the occupation of Japan and high school sweethearts who were separated by war before finally tying the knot. Murray will also honor a member of the Montford Point Marines, who were the first African Americans to serve in the Marines.

During these romantic vow renewal ceremonies, couples will be surrounded by photographs – some modern, others taken as far back as the 1940s. The couples will then celebrate with wedding cake, food, and a toast, courtesy of Supervisor Murray.

Murray is renewing vows for the following Town of Hempstead couples:

  • Franchesca and Sean Keeffe, of Lynbrook – Operation Iraqi Freedom
  • Larry and Alice Pinto, of Merrick – World War II
  • Tom and Mary Beth Deierlein, of Garden City – Operation Iraqi Freedom
  • Rembert and Dorothy Brown, of Roosevelt – World War II
  • Richard and Diane Warren, of Roosevelt – World War II, Korea, Vietnam
  • Chris and Barbara Winkeleer, formerly of Baldwin – Stationed in West Germany
  • Walter and Patricia Hetzel, of Levittown – Vietnam War
  • Harry and Carol Ransom, of Hempstead – Vietnam War
  • Joe and Toni Reale, of Floral Park – Gulf War
  • Carol and John Ball, of Merrick – Vietnam War

The Town of Hempstead would like to thank its sponsors for this event, including Stop & Shop Supermarket, A Taste of Home Bakery of North Bellmore, Mormile Florist of Rockville Centre and the American Airpower Museum.

"We are honored to be able to host this Town of Hempstead event. It reminds all of us that the veterans community represents families throughout the region comprised of men and women who came home from military service to live the American dream,” stated Jim Vocell, Vice President and Head of Flight Operations for the American Airpower Museum. “Supervisor Murray is helping create one more wonderful chapter in the lives of these veterans and we look forward to a Valentine’s Day when we have a chance to collectively tip our hat to these couples.”

“World War II and America’s current wars are separated by nearly 70 years, but the role of our men and women in uniform has never changed: their mission is to defend the country they love,” Murray concluded. “I am honored to officiate the renewal of vows for these true American heroes as they celebrate with the people whom they love.”