POWs & MIAs share stories, gather at McAllen event

The third Friday of every September is reserved to honor America's prisoners of war and those missing in action.In McAllen, former POWs gathered for a luncheon.Craig Grover said he feels right at home with his fellow commrades."We all went through somewhat the same experiences," said Grover. "It's kind of easy for us to communicate between each other. I think normally we don't."For Grover like many, it's difficult to talk about his experience as a prisoner of war."I was captured in May 1942 in the Philippine Islands," said Grover.He said during World War II, he spent three and a half years in a Japanese prison camp."Two of them in the Philippines and a year and a half in Japan," he said.He worked there in the copper mines.Jess Milligan, director of the VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System said these hardships should not go unrecognized.That's why Grover and more than a dozen of his commrades are being honored at this luncheon."It's an opportunity for all of us as a grateful nation to thank our former POWs for the great sacrifice and their own personal freedom that they endured," said Milligan.They were given a medal for their sacrifice.Weslaco High School Junior ROTC did the honors of presenting the medals.Near tears, Grover said thank you not only to those taking the time to honor former POWs and MIAs, but to those still fighting for our country."We thank all the military who are carrying it on," said Grover.The VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System would also like to take the opportunity on this day to encourage all Veterans to sign up for veteran health services that are available to all eligible veterans.Veterans need to take their DD214, income tax information from the previous year and a government issued photo ID to one of the VA outpatient clinics:McAllen VA Outpatient Clinic2101 S. Col. Rowe Blvd.(956) 618-7145orHarlingen VA Outpatient Clinic2106 Treasure Hills Blvd.(956) 366-4500Veterans can walk-in to the above clinics and meet with a health advisor about veteran health services.