Claridge soldier's team gets local lift
By Margie Stanislaw
Published: Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Charles Durst Jr., born and raised in Claridge, has shipped out for his second tour of duty in Kuwait as a member of the Army Reserves.
His unit is the 377th of Butler and currently they are in a non-combat zone. Durst's last tour was also in Kuwait when he was shipped out right after Sept. 11, 2001.
A 1993 graduate of Penn Trafford High School, Durst played sports all through his academic career, and his parents were involved right along with him. He also comes from a long line of firemen who have served over the years with the Claridge Fire Department.
In 1995, the Claridge Fire Department decided to start a softball league.
Chuck Durst played in the league along with members of his family.
His mother, Alice Durst, helped to keep score and by 1997, she became the head coach for the team.
“I would be keeping score and watching the game, and after all the years of watching Chuck play sports, I was able to give the players hints on how to do things better,” Alice Durst said.
“After the coach retired, they asked me to be the coach.”
She coached the team, and her son played on the team until it dissolved four years ago, when they just did not have enough players.
After Durst was sent oversees again to Kuwait, one of his unit buddies started a conversation about how it would be great to have a softball team over there, but they didn't have any equipment.
Upon hearing this conversation, Alice Durst decided to help her son and the other soldiers stationed at his base in Kuwait.
“Chuck keeps in contact with his friends. His going away party had 275 people, mostly from Claridge. All his uncles and cousins are firemen there, too,” Alice Durst said.
With that in mind, Alice Durst went to the Claridge Fire Department and asked them for their help.
She asked if they would be willing to donate the shirts and hats from her son's old softball team to the guys in his unit.
Claridge Fire Department was glad to step up and help out.
Alice Durst donated all the softballs, and Dan Cinti, a fireman and close friend of Chuck Durst, donated the bats. After all this work, and some shipping to Kuwait, the 377th now has a softball team.
“Support your soldiers,” Alice Durst said. “This is all new to me because he's never been gone except for that short time years ago.”
Basically, she said she is trying to get the word out that there are different ways to help service men and women.
“It was awfully nice of Claridge Fire Department and the firemen to help out.”
Chuck Durst is married to the former Marissa Mihalevic Durst of Westmoreland City. They have five children Braunlyn, 15, Paetlyn, 12, Jaedyn, 11, Nathan, 8, and Evan, 1.
Marissa Durst works as a registered nurse at Mercy Hospital and Alice Durst helps to watch the children.
At Christmas time last year, Jeannette McKee Elementary School sent Christmas cards to Chuck Durst and his unit. A Boy Scout Troop in McKeesport also sends them care packages, and the 377th has also received cards from the Jeannette Circles Initiative.
Margie Stanislaw is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Film about former Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis in prestigious festival
- Kovacevic: Got proof on Tomlin? Let’s hear it
- Ex-Penguins winger Kennedy ‘emotional’ about return
- Schmotzer resigns high-paid administrative job with Baldwin-Whitehall
- Groundbreaking for Connellsville hotel shifts to January
- Ex-Steeler WR Wallace: It was a ‘challenge’ for Haley to use me
- Two new members welcomed to Connellsville Area School Board
- Firms transmit market data at near light speed
- Allegheny Township man accused of gashing girlfriend’s face with scissors
- Steelers coach Tomlin fined $100K by NFL
- ‘O Starry Night:’ Petersen ready for big pop event