Sporting a fresh haircut and a patriotic boutonnière on his lapel, a Korean War veteran who turns 90 this December was the guest of honor at a recent ceremony held at the M.M. Ewing Continuing Care Center in Canandaigua, N.Y.
Edward Penrose has lived at the skilled-nursing facility for almost three years. He was honored by representatives of American Legion Post 98 of Gates, N.Y., with a Certificate of Continuous Membership.
Penrose, who wore his Legion uniform for the ceremony and raised his hand in salute during the Pledge of Allegiance, first joined the post 60 years ago. The Legion’s commander for Monroe County in 1991 and 1992, he held several other offices at the local, district, county and state levels within the veterans organization over the years. He was also the “chef de gare” for the Forty & Eight.
Known as a stickler for protocol, Penrose served as a mentor to many other Legionnaires, including Vietnam veteran Charles W. Zeiner of Rochester.
“He kept us in line,” Zeiner said, noting Penrose encouraged him to run for county commander, a role he ultimately held in 2017 and 2018.
“I hope I did well by him,” Zeiner added during his remarks at the ceremony, which was attended by family, friends, Penrose’s roommate and staff members he is close to.
Penrose was one of six children and grew up in Rochester, spending summers on Canandaigua Lake, fishing with his older brother. A graduate of Monroe High School, he went to Korea with the Army in 1950, returning in 1953.
“When he came back, I got all the surplus stuff and I would run around and pretend I was a soldier,” recalled nephew Bill Gruschow of Canandaigua.
After the war, Penrose married Rose Villone, whom he met through The American Legion. The couple lived in the western suburbs of Rochester and he worked as a machinist for Gleason Works. After he “retired,” he took another job as a machinist at a shop near the airport. He’s a Yankees fan but Gruschow said the Legion was always his passion, as several caps, medals and certificates displayed at the ceremony could attest.
M.M. Ewing Administrator Mathew Janczak is a veteran and told Penrose, “I understand the commitment and the sacrifice, and I appreciate everything you did for us.”
So do other staff members, according to Recreation Therapist Beth Bingham. “Our work here is difficult much of the time and being able to connect with our residents,” she said.