Donora to honor its veterans
Gene Svrcek remembers his father telling him about his days serving aboard the USS Aconcagua during World War II.
Soon, Rudolph Svrcek and other Donora veterans will be remembered with 2-foot by 3-foot military banners that will adorn poles along the borough's streets.
Such veteran tributes are already visible in Castle Shannon, Bridgeville, Bethel Park, South Park and Finleyville, including a 17-mile stretch of Route 88 where Svrcek first saw the tributes.
“Seeing it for the first time, it blows your mind, especially when you think about what these veterans did for us,” Gene Svrcek said.
Svrcek approached Terry Gnora, commander of American Legion Post 212 in Donora, and Mayor John Lignelli about bringing the tributes to Donora.
Gnora did two tours of Vietnam, in 1968-69 and 1970-71. His father served with the Army combat engineers, landing at Normandy in World War II.
“When Gene came to me with his proposal, I thought it as a great idea,” Gnora said. “I think it's going to take off.”
Svrcek said he expects demand to be strong in Donora.
“In every other community, they don't have enough poles,” Svrcek said.
Lignelli was 22 in 1944 and working the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift at U.S. Steel in Donora. One night he encouraged a friend to go with him to Pittsburgh and enlist in the Navy. He served at Great Lakes Naval Base in Maryland for nearly four years before being discharged in late 1947.
The cost for each banner is $90, which includes the two-faced banner and the brackets to display it. Those purchasing banners will have an opportunity to pick the location for it to be displaye on a first-come basis, Svrcek said.
Checks should be made out to the Donora American Legion Post 212. Application forms for the banners can be obtained at the borough building, 601 Meldon Ave., the legion post, 513 Meldon Ave., or the Colgan Insurance Agency, 537 McKean Ave., Donora.
A photo of the veteran to be used should be brought to the Colgan Agency, were Svrcek will scan it and return the photo.
More information on the banners can be obtained at www.troopbanners.com/Donora.
There is a three-week process to make the banners and have them erected, Svrcek said.
“This is not an individual project,” he said. “This is a community project with the goal of honoring our veterans, past and present, and to show how proud we are to be from Donora.”
Svrcek said the banners will be displayed in the borough streets from Memorial Day until Labor Day each year.
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or firstname.lastname@example.org.