The weather was glorious on the morning of Sept. 26, as over 200 people gathered at the Southeastern Veterans Center (SEVC) in Spring City to celebrate a Chapel Dedication Ceremony that thanked the many generous donors who provided funding for the new and unique stained glass windows for the chapel and a television for each resident’s room.
The funds raised came from many different area organizations, including veterans’ organizations, service organizations, church groups, women’s groups, and individuals and families as well. The stained glass installation, created by Beyer Studio Inc., of Philadelphia, includes eight large windows and two smaller windows that illustrate non-denominational military-themed scenes. As the chapel has no outside-facing exterior walls, the stained glass art is illuminated with light fixtures.
“The good Lord has truly blessed us with a day like today that we can all gather and be thankful for all of the efforts individually and collectively that you all have put together for our facility and, more importantly, for our individual benefits, and from the bottom of my heart I thank you for that,” said SEVC Commandant Lloyd R. Davis to the many donors who attended the dedication, which was held beneath a tent outside of the SEVC.
The featured guest speaker for the ceremony was stained glass artist Joseph K. Beyer, the President of Beyer Studio Inc.
“For non-denomination chapels and hospitals, you have to make (the stained glass projects) spiritual without being religious,” Beyer said to the Phoenix Reporter & Item in an interview. “There are five windows which tie together as one composition. I needed a central focus (for the composition) and we used a young Marine and his children – but the focus is on his children, who are perceiving the Statue of Liberty in the clouds.”
There are many subjects portrayed within the SEVC stained glass, and the inspiration for one of those soldiers depicted was Beyer’s own father, Joseph C. Beyer, a WWII veteran, who accompanied his son to the dedication ceremony.
Joseph C. Beyer was in the Army Air Corp in World War II, and his son said it was “only natural that I would reach for an authentic model.”
“I cannot express the pride I have in what he has accomplished with his medium,” the senior Beyer said of his son.
The younger Beyer said that he is very privileged because his work is taken seriously and appreciated on a level well beyond mere décor.
“Being here today, it certainly gives one pause to stop and appreciate the sacrifice of so many, and seeing so many here today leaves one to think about all of those who could not be here with us today,” he said.
Following the ceremony, all were invited to enjoy refreshments and to tour the chapel and resident areas at SEVC.
“It was a very long project but it is very nice to see it all come together finally,” said SEVC Volunteer April Harley, who spearheaded the fundraising efforts for the stained glass windows and residents’ televisions. “It’s mostly our veteran organizations that I really need to thank because they really stood by me and helped me and went to the meetings and really got the funds for this project.”
Fred LeClair, Commandant of the Chester County Detachment of the Marine Corps League, a donating organization, was the first ceremony attendee to enter the chapel following the ceremony. When asked to share his thoughts on being involved as a contributing organization he shared the following:
“It’s a privilege,” he said. “For me that’s it… it is a privilege to be able to (help). When they came to us and asked (for funding) we didn’t really have the money in the treasurer so the guys just reached into their pockets right there in the meeting.”
“Every guy just pooled in $100 right there,” added Leo Burke, the Sergeant-at-Arms for Chester County Detachment of the Marine Corps League, “and by the time Ken (Schweitzer, the Marine Corp League representative to the SEVC) left, he had all he needed from us. (The stained glass,) it is beautiful… it’s different from what you would normally see, but it’s absolutely beautiful.”
To find out more about the stained glass artwork, you can visit an online version of the Chapel Dedication Ceremony program here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/171547063/Chapel-Dedication-Ceremony-SVEC