In the Spotlight: Arnold G., World War II Army Veteran


Arnold Gerst served the United States during World War II. After helping defeat forces in Japan, he was sent to Europe to continue a combat assignment. Due to his selfless act, our freedom and rights are honored today. Arnold was honored at Omaha's VFW Post 2503 on October 3, 2013. Thank you for serving the United States with such courage, Arnold!

According to VFW Post 2503

Arnold Gerst, a Purple Heart recipient, served with the United States Army in WWII from February 7, 1943 through December 1945.  He served in combat in the Aleution Islands in 1943 and was deployed to Sicily, then Naples, Italy, served in combat in Italy and then flew gliders into southern France. Moved to southern Germany and then Salsburg, Austria when the war ended in Europe.  Arnold has been a member of Post 2503 Honor Guard since 1990 and has served as its Captain.  Arnold is an active member of Post 2503 and has actively served the Post in a wide variety of functions during his long membership in the Post.  Please congratulate Arnold for his service to our country and for his decades of service to his community.


The quilt was made by three young women that are members of Nebraska's 4-H, at the ages of 9, 10, and 11.








Army Staff Sargent - Sharon Cooper

Retired Staff Sargent Sharon Cooper, a veteran from Omaha, Nebraska, was honored with a quilt on Thursday, December 5, 2013, for her dedication to the United States and a career in the military.  Honored during a meeting at the Omaha Veterans of Foreign War (VFW) Post 2503, she received a patriotic quilt signed by citizens of Nebraska.

After serving the United States as a member of the Army, from 1972 to 1996, Sharon continued to serve the Omaha community through the VFW and education. Her military service included stints in Germany, Japan, Korea, and Hawaii.


On April 30, 1975, the fall of Saigon ended the Vietnam War and prompted one of two waves of emigration from Vietnam to the United States. Sharon was committed to helping refugees resettle and served as one of one hundred women that helped with immigration and immunization. Operation New Life found her working with the refugees medical records, as well as interpreters, she made certain that the appropriate information was compiled for those choosing to reside in one of three states.

One of Sharon's most memorable experiences includes the responsibility bestowed upon her during this period. As she worked for a Lieutenant Colonel, that was swamped with communication, many of the forms requiring an official signature were assigned to Sharon. While a Staff Sargent at that time, Sharon's signature approved the communications.


As a member of Omaha's VFW Post 2503, she is the Junior Vice Commander. She also serves the Post by leading the Voice of Democracy and Patriots' Pen programs for students in Douglas and Sarpy counties.





The Voice of Democracy gives high school students a chance to share their views via a speech, that could result in a $30,000 national prize. The program is open to students in grades 9-12, who are enrolled in a public, private or parochial high school or home study program in the United States and its territories. The deadline for submissions for the 2014-2015 program is November 1, 2014. Download the application at the Voice of Democracy website by clicking on the link.

The theme for 2013-2014 was: “Why I'm Optimistic About our Nation’s Future,” while the new theme for 2014-2015 is: "Why Veterans are Important to our Nation's History and Future."




The Patriot's Pen program is open to students in grades 6-8, who are enrolled in a public, private or parochial high school or home study program in the United States and its territories.

The theme for 2013-2014 was: “Why I'm Optimistic About our Nation’s Future,” while the new theme for 2014-2015 is: "Why Veterans are Important to our Nation's History and Future."

The deadline for submissions for the 2014-2015 program is November 1, 2014. Download the application from the Patriot's Pen post by clicking on the link.



Both, the Voice of Democracy and the Patriot's Pen, are proudly sponsored by the national and local VFW Posts.
While she retired from the Army in 1995, Sharon wanted to continue to serve our nation. Therefore, she chose to work as a teacher for students at Bryan High School, in the Omaha Public School District, as an ROTC instructor.

The signature blocks are signed by people during the Lancaster County Fair, in Lincoln, Nebraska, as well as at other sites, including but not limited to, the Nebraska Humane Society, McDonald's, Hancock Fabric, the Quilted Kitty in Lincoln, and SAC Federal Credit Union. Thanks to all of those signing the blocks. What a tribute to our veterans!