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Donora to honor its veterans

| Monday, June 16, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
Chris Buckley | The Valley Independent
Gene Svrcek, center, looks at a military banner of his father, while Donora Mayor John Lignelli, left, and American Legion Post 212 Commander Terry Gnora look on.
Donora veterans will be remembered with two-foot by three-foot military banners, like this one of Donora Mayor John Ligenlli, which will adorn poles along the borough’s streets. Applications to purchase a banner are available at the Donora Borough Building.
In this February 7, 2012, photo, shows equipment in the oil fields of the Uintah Basin, southeast of Vernal, Utah. Four in 10 new oil and gas wells identified as higher pollution risks escape federal inspection, according to an Associated Press review that shows wide state-by-state disparities in safety checks. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management didn’t check more half of the wells on federal and Indian lands in Utah from 2009 to 2012, according to government data. (AP Photo/The Salt Lake Tribune, Trent Nelson)
Heather Hart | For The Valley Independent
Julianna Roberts, 12, of Monessen is shown at the Salvation Army Mon Valley Citadel's second annual miniature golf outing at Bill's Golfland in Rostraver Township on Saturday, June 14, 2014.

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

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

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