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Four Chaplains Memorial group helps local community

The organization honors volunteers and awards scholarships to York students.

YORK, Pa. — The Four Chaplains Memorial of York County is a local organization dedicated to honoring four men who gave their lives helping others. The men gave up their life jackets to other soldiers after the ship they were on, the S.S. Dorchester, was torpedoed by the Germans in World War II. 

"These were four men from various faith backgrounds who, in a time of need, were able to put whatever differences in faith aside for the greater good of people," said Dr. Tana Andre, a recipient of a scholarship awarded by The Four Chaplains Memorial of York County.

The York-based group awards scholarships to students who've attended Alexander D. Goode Elementary School and graduate from William Penn High School. 

Goode, a Jewish rabbi, was one of the Four Chaplains. He left York's Temple Beth Israel in October 1942 to serve in the war.

Credit: Gordon Freireich
Alexander D. Goode

The Four Chaplains Memorial of York County has been awarding the scholarship since 2001. Dr. Andre was awarded the scholarship in 2004.

"The scholarship is geared towards students in certain demographics and certain areas. I think it's important for them to have that encouragement to know that whatever they are dreaming, whatever they are believing [in], it's possible," Andre said.

In 2011, an endowment was created to award a scholarship every year for Goode school students.

Credit: Four Chaplains Memorial of York County
Dr. Tana Freeland Andre, center, a 2004 recipient of the Four Chaplains Scholarship, attended Alexander D. Goode Elementary School and later earned her medical degree from University of Dentistry and Medicine in New Jersey. Today, she’s a psychiatrist in a suburb of Philadelphia.

Rabbi Goode's legacy is also at the core of the Four Chaplains Memorial of York County Legion of Honor program. Its mission is to recognize and encourage acts of volunteerism, brotherhood, and sacrifice among people of every age and station of life.

Cher Kondor was honored in 2014 for her work in creating the Veterans Memorial Gold Star Healing & Peace Garden in York. She was inspired to create it after the death of her son, SPC Martin Kondor, who was killed in Iraq in 2004.

Credit: Cher Kondor
The Veterans Memorial Gold Star Healing & Peace Garden in its winter dressing.
Credit: Cher Kondor
The Veterans Memorial Gold Star Healing & Peace Garden in York, Pa. from the air.

"[It's] a living garden, which was planted with certain colors to reflect core values. So it is build in a circle for unity, which is one of the tenets that the Four Chaplains put out. They say service to all people, regardless of race or faith, symbolizing to all Americans, for all time, that there is unity," Kondor said.

Kondor is one of the more than 30 people who've received the award in recognition of exceptional selfless service to the community and to a spirit of interfaith cooperation.

John Bailey, owner of Bailey Coach, was honored in 2019 for his quiet, unassuming community service throughout his life. Bailey has organized several buses and volunteers to help with natural disasters over the years. Bailey said the work he does isn't about awards.

"You know we just enjoy using our different businesses to be able to help non-profits. That's the kind of stuff that makes you want to get out of bed in the morning when you see that little bit that Bailey Coach and the Bailey family can do to make differences," said Bailey.

The Four Chaplains Memorial of York County is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a gala on May 11. Retired United States Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills, of the 82nd Airborne, is the keynote speaker. Mills lost portions of both arms and legs from an IED while on active duty in Afghanistan.  

Credit: Four Chaplains Memorial of York County

Mills will also speak at the group's youth breakfast on May 12.

To learn more about The Four Chaplains Memorial of York County, click here.

To get involved and donate to the cause, click here.

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