Vernon H. Drewa
Vernon reported aboard Skagit on 2 March 1952, and served as Communications Division PO.
In October 1952 while the ship was in Sasebo, Japan he was ordered back to the Cryptographic program at Vallejo, Calif. finishing school in February 1953.
Serving in the Navy, and Naval Reserve, Vernon retired as a LCDR on August 1,1967 at DASA, Ft. Campbell, Kentucky.
After his Naval service he was employed by the FAA, and retired in September 1987, as Manager, FAA, North Texas Area.
Vernon Henry Drewa Jr., 82, passed away Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. Funeral: 10 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20, at First Baptist Church of Keller. Interment: Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery. Visitation: 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at Greenwood Funeral Home. Memorials: In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Scottish Rite Hospital or the Wounded Warrior Foundation.
Vernon was born Jan. 17, 1930, and raised in Fort Worth. He was a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars where he earned two Purple Hearts. He retired from the U.S. Navy after over 30 years of service as a naval intelligence officer.
He then worked and retired as the southwest regional manager of the Federal Aviation Administration at D/FW Airport, Dallas. Vernon was a Master Mason for 52 years and a charter member of the Elks Lodge Midcities. He served on the board of Baylor Hospital and Scottish Rite hospitals in Dallas. He was a member of the Tin Can Sailors, Amphibious group, Navy League, First Baptist Church of Keller and numerous other organizations.
Vernon was dedicated to his family genealogy and loved fishing and hunting. Most of all, he was a man who loved his family and friends, God and country, who never met a stranger.
Survivors: Wife, Gail; daughters, Karen Skrasek and husband, Johnnie, Danna Kuyper and husband, Dick, and Kristi Lucas; brother, Robert Wayne Drewa and wife, Laverne; brother-in-law, Gerry Wren and wife, Barbara; grandchildren, Jason Skrasek, Joey Martinak, Brittney and Brooke Elliott, and Natalie, Sarah, Amanda, Josh and Mark Lucas; great-grandchildren, Macy and Maddy Martinak.
Posted on July 4, 2012 Keller, Texas
In one Keller neighborhood, the flags seemed to fly a little higher this Independence Day.
They were raised by veterans who spent weeks drilling and leveling at hundreds of homes, so military precision would generate patriotic pride.
Vernon Drewa puts his back into it because his soul is in it, too. "I can't do as much as I used to do, but I can do more than people expect I can," he said.
A retired Navy Commander, Drewa served his country for 30 years. His adventures took him to the Arctic Circle, Korea, and the Marshall Islands.
He holds on to photos of the good men who were lost along the way.
Still, his chest swells with pride when he sees the red, white and blue lining the streets of his neighborhood.
"You saw the smiles on the children's faces, and they were so proud," Drewa said after a slow tour of his Keller neighborhood.
He planted 228 flags this year with the help of Randy Stillinger. The army helicopter pilot never knew how many veterans lived in his little corner of Keller.
"That's one thing this project has done besides painting the neighborhood red, white and blue,” Stillinger said. “We've gotten to know each other. We've met so many people."
Now, those neighbors are family. They promised to raise the flags next year, when Stillinger leaves his wife and children for another deployment to the Middle East.
"They're also going to be taking care of my family while I am gone, and I can't ask for more than that as a soldier," he said.
Families paraded through the patriotic fanfare throughout the day just to take in the sight of all the flags.
Lana Kruse held on tight to her family photos. They’re reminders of nearly 70 years of military service for her husband, friend, and son. "Lot of memories and hardships and pride,” she recalled. "Just different things... brings a lot of emotion."
Mike McGuire received the final flag on Wednesday morning.
"It seems like we've kind of forgot where we came from, and patriotism seems to be lagging,” McGuire said, recalling a similar sight after September 11, 2001.
The Vietnam vet is now proud to fly the national colors in his own front yard.
He's proud to live in a neighborhood that still cares.
"There's great neighborhoods all over this country," McGuire said.
Three-hundred flags are on order for the next patriotic holiday, but it all started with Vernon Drewa's house. For him, it's just one more mission after a lifetime of service.
He won't call it "work," because it's how he shows his love for the Stars and Stripes.
Drewa held back tears when asked why he loves his country.
"We might not be perfect, but we are darn close, and I wouldn't swap it for anything in the world," he said.
View video and photo gallery at WFAA www.wfaa.com