U.S. Navy Veteran Samuel Showman Honored for Military Service
U.S. Navy World War II veteran Samuel “Sam” Showman, age 92, was recently honored for his service during a virtual veteran’s recognition ceremony coordinated by Hospice of the Western Reserve (HWR) volunteer service manager Tina Thonnings.
Volunteer Chuck Wirtz, a U.S. Navy veteran, conducted the virtual ceremony via Microsoft Office Teams as several members of the family joined in. The two Navy veterans conversed freely throughout the ceremony, reminiscing about their respective military experiences. A poignant moment occurred when the volunteer veteran stood at attention and saluted Mr. Showman. “Wow, I’ve been through a lot of things in my life,” the World War II veteran said, “but no one has ever honored me like that. Thank you.”
Mr. Showman’s granddaughter, Jessica, a Navy veteran who served four years aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, sat by his bedside holding his hand. She had the privilege of honoring her grandfather by “pinning” an Ohio Veterans Partnership pin to his clothing. Kristine Burkwood, HWR social worker presented Mr. Showman with a commemorative certificate and he also received a red, white and blue afghan crocheted by a HWR volunteer.
Mr. Showman served as Third Class Petty Officer aboard the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1944-47. He was stationed stateside at the Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia, headquarters and home port of the U.S. Navy's Fleet Forces Command and the world's largest naval station. As a radio operator, he was proficient in using Morse Code. He also had the distinct honor of typing all discharges, including his own in 1947!
He is also is a gifted artist. While in the Navy, he took art courses through the United States Armed Forces Institute. Upon his release in 1947, he entered the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, where he received a diploma in commercial art and took post-graduate courses in air brush illustration while working at Lake Erie Railroad Company in Pittsburgh as a telegraph operator. Through the years, he has created and sold hundreds of works of fine art.
Mr. Showman moved to Cleveland, Ohio in 1953 and became a die maker at Coit Road Fisher Body General Motors Plant. Over the years he developed another talent as a skillful die maker and a true craftsman of his trade.
Mr. Wirtz is one of more than three dozen veteran volunteers who participate in HWR’s Peaceful & Proud program, supporting and honoring veterans. He joined the U.S. Navy 1975, serving for five years aboard the USS Enterprise. He served in the Navy Reserves from 1981-2007, retiring as Commanding Officer. “It is the bond that veterans have with each other - the camaraderie - that I cherish the most,” he said.