Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Profile-Francis "Fran" McCoy-Editor of ColHums Newsletter

Role played in borough: Fran was a true Collingdale High School Alumni and worked tirelessly on the ColHums newsletter for over twenty years. He was one of the founding fathers of the Collingdale High School Alumni Association started in 1982. As with most of the school districts in the area, Collingdale High School was slated to close and merge with Darby Township and Sharon Hill High School in the fall of 1981. There was, however. a brief year long transition when the schools kept their names but students were sent to various schools depending on what scholastic area they planned to study. Technically the students still graduated from those schools, received diplomas, had yearbooks made and attended proms. However the reality was that they were really going to "Academy Park East" as one of the schools was called at the time. It wasn't until 1984 the new Academy Park students graduated together at one location. Fran and the other founding fathers mourned the loss of Collingdale High School and its rich history.

Accomplishments: Fran was instrumental in starting the Collingdale High School Alumni Association and did hours of research on war veterans like himself to place on a proposed All Wars Memorial which was dedicated November 8, 1997. His insights into the lives of athletes and other notable former classmates of Collingdale High School made entertaining and informative reading. He worked tirelessly to promote events such as the "Colls On The Cove" event and the Grand Reunions. He kept on top of memorials and dug up histories of both teachers and students of Collingdale High School to ensure that their history wasn't forgotten.
The Future of the Collingdale High School Alumni Association: The association is still a very active group which meets every third Tuesday at the Collingdale Community Center. The CHSAA honors Fran and the other founding fathers by continuing the work they started and moving forward with new programs and services. Catherine Basil Ramos and Pamela Basil Wright continue the work Fran did as editor of the ColHums ensuring that the Collingdale spirit remains alive and well.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Business-Pho 4 Seasons

Location: 1030 MacDade Boulevard

Hours of Operation: 7 days 10 am to 10 pm

Orders for take out or to reserve the banquet room: (215)808-7437

Speciality: Vietnamese Food

Founded: March 16, 2014

Founder: Vivenne Diep

A brief history: When Vivenne bought a house in Folcroft in the early 2010, she soon discovered that there weren't any authentic Vietnamese restaurants in the area. If anyone wanted to get some Vietnamese food, they'd have to travel into downtown Philadelphia to get in. That proved to be a hassle for some who wanted the food that they'd grown up with and the convenience of not having to travel that far to get good food. She decided to open a Vietnamese restaurant utilizing the experiences she gained in college and with the help of her parents who were excellent cooks. Other family members chipped in when they could.

When she first saw the building after Mena's restaurant closed, she fell in love with it. It was a great location and seemed to be a great fit for the community's fast growing Asian population. Surprisingly she also discovered a number of non Asians enjoyed the food, especially the Pho beef bowl.

With a large banquet room available for groups, this restaurant is a welcome addition to Collingdale.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Organization-Joseph Marshall-Donald R. McKay VFW Post #5428

Location:  343 Oak Lane

Meeting times: Tuesdays 7:30 pm (Update 2016-Sunday afternoon

Founded: May 23, 1952 at the home of Harry T. O'Hagan, owner of O'Hagan's Tavern. Harry was named the 1st post commander and served from 1952 to 1953 and from 1958 to 1959. During Harry's tenure, bylaws and other activities were established. Harry offered to hold some of the meetings at his tavern and that became a favorite spot for the veterans to meet and swap stories. Fulfilling its mission to both help the community and promote democratic ideals, the VFW post participated in parades, fund drives and other civic activities.

A brief history: The post started as a way to honor Donald McKay and other fallen veterans who weren't getting the recognition they deserved for their service. The Korean War was going badly in 1952, and veterans coming home from that war weren't getting the services they needed. One of the members also wanted the post to honor Joseph Marshall, a Navy ensign, who some sources say was the first Collingdale veteran to die in WWII. Conflicting stories suggest that there was someone else from Collingdale who died earlier in the war, but nevertheless it was decided that Joseph Marshall should be honored as well with the naming of the post. During its early years the post met at O'Hagan's Tavern and at various homes in the borough. Don's parents, Mr. & Mrs. John McKay were instrumental in securing a permanent home for the VFW when they helped purchase land on Oak Lane for the new building. Groundbreaking occurred in October 1959 with both past and present commanders of the post in attendance. The skeleton of the building was completed by a local contractor, but the bricks and everything else was done by the VFW members themselves with help from the local community. A grand celebration in January 1960 christened the new building. Many dances and other social events happened at the hall during the 1960s. Three scout troops also used the facilities for their meetings during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Membership rolls reached a high of 220 in 1970, but declined steadily as the years passed. The scouts ceased to exist in Collingdale and no longer used the facility in the 1990s.

Looking towards the future: The VFW is looking to recruit younger members to the post. There are at the present time, various resources available for veterans. The premise of the organization is still geared towards veterans who have served in foreign lands which unfortunately excludes veterans who have served in support positions here in the United States. There is however no reason why someone can not help out in an advisory capacity. More information about the VFW can be found at Veterans of Foreign Wars National site. There are also educational programs the VFW sponsors that both children and teenagers can get involved with, such as the Voice of Democracy contest. The VFW has sponsored this contest in the past. If you know someone who has served overseas and would be interested in joining the VFW, please call Chuck Meehan at (484)574-3806.