MANCHESTER, Pa. (WHTM) – Veterans from across the country came together Wednesday in York County. They served together in a U.S. Marine Corps special operations unit in the Vietnam War from 1965 to 1970.
The group honored and surprised a woman who’s been like a mother to them.
“My son had written home also and said, ‘Mom, when I come home, will you have a reunion for my friends and I?” Mary Fuhrman of Dallastown said,
About 70 veterans who served with her son, Lance Corporal Jim Fuhrman, are in Manchester Township for the reunion. One person missing is Mary’s son.
“I thought, well, Jim wanted me to have a reunion for the fellows and God had other plans for him. I’ll have his reunion anyway,” Fuhrman said.
The 20-year-old died during a gunfight in 1970. Marines he served with keep in touch with each other and the woman they affectionately call “Mother Mary,” who is 95 years young.
“Every now and then I pick up the phone and one of them is on the other end of the line, or I go out to the mailbox and there’s a card, a Mother’s Day card, a birthday card, a Christmas card,” Fuhrman said.
“Sometimes, I have to hold back tears because she does mean so much,” Cpl. Barry J. Butterworth (ret.) said.
“She’s the epitome of mom. She cares about all of us. She dotes on us. She chews us out if we do something wrong,” Col. Wayne Morris (ret.) said.
“You’re not too big a tool to get your behind paddled,” Fuhrman said to two of the men with a big grin.
The men Fuhrman thinks of as her sons presented her with a special gift.
“I brought her the Purple Heart medal because normally the wife will get the medals Jimmy deserved,” Butterworth said.
“I said I cry a lot too, but tears can cleanse the soul,” Fuhrman said. “When you’re done crying, you feel better.”
Fuhrman will find a special place in her home for her son’s Purple Heart, along with her 15 scrapbooks.