SUN PHOTO BY DONNELL BATES The United States Marines Corps celebrated its 237th birthday on Saturday at the Isles Yacht Club in Punta Gorda. Lauren Wahlgren stands with retired Sgt. Maj. Richard Fratterelli, a 22-year veteran of the Marines.
SUN PHOTO BY DONNELL BATES Retired Col. Tony Palermo, a 31-year veteran, is seen here with retired Col. Ivar Svenson Jr., who was in the Marines for 28 years.
SUN PHOTO BY DONNELL BATES Peter Shanks, Commandant Elect for the Marine Corps League Detachment 756, is seen here with his wife, Sue.
SUN PHOTO BY DONNELL BATES The guest of honor, 31-year-old retired Sgt. Jeffrey Swartzentruber, completed three tours in Iraq and as a squad leader, was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Valor. Swartzentruber suffered a knee injury and eventually medically retired. He is now enrolled in college earning his degree towards being a mental health counselor focusing on treating and helping future veterans with post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. He is seen here with his wife, Elizabeth, during the ceremony for the 237th Birthday Day celebration on Saturday.
SUN PHOTO BY DONNELL BATES The oldest and the youngest Marines stand before the birthday cake, ready to receive the first piece as tradition dictates, along with the guest of honor. Charles Wahlgren is 35; Dale Venlos is 85.
SUN PHOTO BY DONNELL BATES Guest of honor retired Sgt. Jeffrey Swartzentruber is receiving a slice of the birthday cake from Commandant Don Cross.
SUN PHOTO BY DONNELL BATES Kenera Jone is seen here reading a poem she wrote for the Birthday Ball.
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