POTTSTOWN PA – “A Hero’s Welcome,” the local veterans’ tribute organization, lacked an opportunity to offer its official celebratory greeting when U.S. Marine infantryman Jonathan Henry Munz arrived home in Pottstown after two tours of duty in the Middle East. It will not miss the chance, however, to see him buried Saturday (Jan. 25, 2014) with a hero’s send-off.
Munz, 29, died early Sunday morning (Jan. 19) in an automobile accident on Route 100 in Upper Pottsgrove Township. Police say the car he was driving was headed south on the northbound lanes of the highway when it collided head-on with another vehicle near State Street. An investigation into the crash is continuing.
A funeral for the 2003 Owen J. Roberts High School graduate will begin with a Masonic service at 10:15 a.m. in Zion Lutheran Church, 39 Bonnie Brae Rd., Spring City PA. Lining up for Munz with a corridor of American flags, both at the church and later at its cemetery for a burial with military honors, will be volunteers of A Hero’s Welcome and its partners in Warriors’ Watch Riders.
A Hero’s Welcome and the motorcycle riders of Warriors’ Watch, most of them veterans as well, have over several years welcomed many service men and women back to their homes in the Pottsgroves and Limerick townships, and Pottstown. Their mission, founder Sharon Hyland Keyser has said, is to ensure veterans know their efforts are appreciated by the public.
A typical welcome-home gala staged by the two groups often includes a parade of dozens of motorcycles in paired formations, police cars, fire trucks and private vehicles filled with family members, friends and complete strangers who know only that the guest of honor has returned from military duty. The Sanatoga and Ringing Hill fire companies, and Lower Pottsgrove police, have regularly participated in such events.
A similar procession had not been requested for Munz when he came home, according to a Wednesday (Jan. 22) discussion thread on the A Hero’s Welcome website. Now, never too late, a fitting tribute is being assembled, it added.
Volunteers who are bringing their own 3-by-5 American flags will gather quietly in the church parking lot Saturday at 11:15 a.m. By 11:30, they will line the church vestibule with red, white and blue, standing in respectful and silent attention. They’ll reassemble the line a short time later at the cemetery as Munz is laid to rest.
An obituary published by Shalkop Grace & Strunk Funeral Home reports Munz served his country during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and “received many commendations, including the Good Conduct Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, National Service Defense Medal, and a Navy Unit Commendation for his heroic actions.”
After he left the service, Munz was employed with his father as a plumber for H. W. Munz Plumbing. He was a member of the Spring City Lodge of the Free and Accepted Masons #553, the Spring City American Legion Post 602, Thomas W. O’Connor, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6341-Royersford, and the Elverson Gun Club.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made in Munz’s memory to the Wounded Warrior Project 310 Grant St. Suite 900, Pittsburgh PA 15219.
Editor’s Note: A tip of The Post hat to Billy Worrell, adjutant for BG Elmer S. Friedberg American Legion Post 244 of Sanatoga, who brought this story to our attention.
Photo from Google Images