DANVILLE — A United States Marine Corps veteran, Gary Anspach has long felt a call to serve his nation.
Anspach remains active in the Marine Corps League and was sworn in Thursday to serve on the advisory board of the Southwestern Veterans’ Center.
Anspach, who lives in the Milton area, was sworn in by Montour County Prothonotary Susan M. Kauwell at the Montour County Courthouse.
“It’s something I’m proud of and capable of doing,” Anspach said. “Especially being a disabled Vietnam veteran. I’m happy to be here to help.
According to Anspach, being a member of the advisory council involves helping veterans find housing and employment. The Southwest Veterans Center is located in Pittsburgh and is a location that provides veterans with assisted living facilities and retirement homes.
Each state veterans home is run by a 15-member advisory board and an adjutant general, Anspach said. Members assist in the management, operation and assessment of the adequacy of facilities in homes.
Anspach was nominated by Governor Tom Wolf and will serve until June 1, 2025. Southwestern Veterans’ Center Advisory Board meetings are held once a month, either in Harrisburg or Pittsburgh.
The Marine Corps League is a United States Marine Corps veterans organization chartered by Congress. Its goals are to preserve the traditions of the Marine Corps and to strengthen the brotherhood of Marines. League members are involved in community service, funerals, flag raising ceremonies, flag dedications and parades.
“The Marine Corps League does a lot,” Anspach said. “We mainly help Marines and veterans with disabilities. It’s a good organization. It’s really set for when you get out of the Marine Corps, to keep the tradition of the United States Marine Corps. We do all kinds of different programs. We are responsible for collecting the programs and broadcasting them to the public. We mainly work with the public. That’s why we must maintain our high standards because we do it for the community.
“We try to give back to the community and do whatever we can,” junior league vice-commander Greg Schlegel said. “For example, with Toys for Tots, we sometimes ask someone to play Santa Claus for the kids. I tell you, giving back to the community is so rewarding.
Anspach has been in the Marine Corps League for seven years.
“I started in Fort Payne, Alabama, and was there for five years, then I was here for two years,” Anspach said.
Throughout his time in the Marine Corps League, Anspach served as a vice commander at Fort Payne and is Montandon’s sergeant-at-arms. He was also named 2021 Marine of the Year by the Marine Corps League.
Anspach joined the US Marines in November 1968.
“I was during the Vietnam War era,” Anspach said. “I went to Parris Island for training camp and then to Camp Lejeune and Camp Pendleton for more training. I went from Okinawa to Vietnam, and then the next three years I was in Key West, Florida, in a naval barracks there. I was six years old.
According to Anspach, he wanted to serve longer in the Marines, but was injured in Vietnam.
“I was going to make a career out of it, but it didn’t happen,” Anspach said. “I loved the Marine Corps. I’m proud to be a Marine. They always tell us, ‘Once a Marine, always a Marine.’
In the past, Anspach has helped with Toys for Tots through the Marine Corps League. Toys for Tots is a program that distributes toys to children whose families cannot afford to buy them for Christmas.
“We are giving away the toys for Christmas,” Anspach said. “We put them in bags, take them away, and then people go downstairs to get their toys. They fill out forms and they tell us, the coordinators, what they want for Christmas.