Veteran’s Sanctuary

Veteran’s Sanctuary

Veteran's Sanctuary 1-11 Bright white sunlight streamed in to the auditorium of the new Veteran’s Sanctuary in Allentown, PA, lighting the way for the color-guard as they marched up the aisle.

It was gratifying to see the turnout…the large room was filled to capacity, as was the upper balcony that surrounds it. Many VIP’s and elected officials were in attendance including U.S. Senator Bob Casey and Lehigh County D.A., Jim Martin.

Community support is crucial to the success of the Sanctuary and to its residents. During an afternoon workshop, a great deal of emphasis was placed on the importance of the soldiers feeling that they have been accepted back in to their community so they can resume their civilian lives.

As our Vietnam Veterans age, and as our current veterans cope with multiple deployments, the Veteran’s Sanctuary will become an increasingly important safe haven for our soldiers and their families. They are currently trying to raise funds through a “Buy a Brick” campaign. For $100 you can add an engraved brick memorializing the name of a soldier or family member, to the Sanctuary’s outside walkway. This is an effort worthy of our support.

Weaving Silken Dreams…Here in Allentown

Anne Hills I’m in the process of writing my first column for the Morning Call in almost a year. The topic will be the stress our military is under due to so many multiple deployments and how the new Veteran’s Sanctuary, opening this fall in Allentown, is a much needed resource. The story will appear on Memorial Day.

As part of my research for the article, I attending a benefit concert held in the partially restored building that will house the Sanctuary. Standing in the auditorium of the former St. John’s Lutheran School on 5th St., the more than the one hundred people and I that were in the audience, were carried back in time not only by our surroundings, but by another local treasure, singer and songwriter Anne Hills.

What a wonderful voice singing so many beautiful songs that spoke to the human condition. There were of course many veterans in the audience, and when Anne sang, “Your new companion” about the loneliness of alcoholism, often an early symptom of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, you could have heard a pin drop.

And in a poke-in-the-eye to Billy Joel and his awful song about Allentown, Anne wrote a beautiful ode to all the workers who made the Queen City just that…the Queen of the silk mills. “Silken Dreams” tells the story of a retired weaver and her friend who came here as young women from Austria and spent their lives at their looms. “On a hot summer night, you could hear those looms; they never shut them down. Weaving and spinning the silken dreams of the workers in Anne Hills w-banjo Allentown”.  

It’s no wonder Tom Paxton, Anne Hills’ friend, fellow songwriter, and folk legend, said the following about her..

“Anne Hills is such an exquisite singer that it’s understandable that people might be swept up in the pure beauty of her voice and thereby overlook her writing. That would be a mistake. For me, Anne’s writing, in songs like ‘Follow That Road’ and many others, is as direct, melodic and deep as any work being done today. She is quite simply one of my absolute favorite songwriters.”
                    — Tom Paxton

Anne, who volunteered to entertain at the benefit, lives in Bethlehem with her husband and daughter. Her career takes her around the country, but she does occasionally appear locally. Her concert dates are listed on her website.

It was a very special afternoon filled with beautiful music and heartfelt sentiments…all for a very good cause. If you believe that our Veterans deserve your support, please consider donating to the Veteran’s Sanctuary.

Blogger’s Note: My thanks to Christopher Scappaticci for the generous use of his photographs. I tried to download Anne’s song, “Silken Dreams” to accompany this post, but being the techno wizard that I am, I couldn’t figure out how to do it. There’s a beautiful version on Rhapsody.

So What Are You Doing Next Weekend…

Dealing with blog gremlins and finishing a project have caused the prolonged neglect of this blog.

But I do want to take advantage of what opportunity there is to let you know about two wonderful and worthwhile events that are happening next weekend.

First is a benefit concert by the Craig Thatcher Allstar Review at Zoellner Center on Saturday, May 22. The concert is sponsored by, and will benefit, St. John’s UCC in Coopersburg.

The Craig Thatcher Band, with Don Plowman and Wayde Leonard, will perform in the Lehigh Valley Review.

The event also will put a spotlight on rising student musical stars. They include Brett Broczkowski, Freedom High School (Bethlehem); Andrew Davis, Northampton Community College; Dakota Dell, Souderton High School; Kris Ewaniuk, Palisades High School; Alan Georgiadis, Quakertown High School; Melanie Loveless, Pennridge High School; and Maggie Montoney, Quakertown High School.

Each year, the church identifies people in the Southern Lehigh, Upper Bucks and Saucon Valley area who are burdened by serious medical conditions and unaffordable costs (beyond their resources and insurance coverage). So far, they’ve donated more than $280,000 … yes, that figure is correct … to 24 recipients.

According to Glenn Kranzley, former VP and Editor at The Morning Call, this initiative started out with their small congregation: Glenn says they’re lucky to have 50 or 60 people in church on Sundays. The effort has now grown to involve several other Solehi area churches and school community groups. About 300 people actively volunteer.

Tickets are available at the Zoellner Arts Center: or 610-758-2787.

For more details about COB, including testimonials from some of the folks they’ve helped …

The congregation also holds summer block parties, and what’s more fun than a block party; St. John’s ninth annual party will be held Sunday, July 25, 2010, so you may want to make note of that date, too.


The following day, Sunday, May 23, in Allentown, there’s a Concert to Benefit Veteran’s Sanctuary featuring Anne Hills

Hills, a well-known folk singer, will perform at a concert in Allentown on May 23 to benefit Veterans Sanctuary, a community based treatment center dedicated to serving veterans and providing support for their families.

Service men and women coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan are returning with increasingly higher percentages of post traumatic stress disorder, partly due to extended and repeated tours of duty. This increases the risk factors for substance abuse and addiction. Veterans Sanctuary will provide long-term addiction treatment, specialize in the treatment of PTSD, and assist veterans and their families by intervening in periods of acute distress. It also will act to sustain recovery and assist in the transition back into civilian life.

Veterans Sanctuary is scheduled to begin accepting clients in the fall of 2010, and will be open to all veterans.

The concert will be held at 2 p.m. May 23 at Veterans Sanctuary, 24 South Fifth Street in Allentown. Tickets can be ordered by mail or online at or by calling 610-439-8479. Reserved seating tickets are $30 in advance or $35 at the door. General admission tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door.

What better way to honor the spirit of our veterans and Memorial Day than by supporting this event.

Scroll to Top