Plum woman organizes event to honor local veterans
Jo Ann Kelly is proud of her husband's 21 years of military service.
Ira Kelly's experiences made such an imprint on his wife's life that Jo Ann Kelly, 78, of Plum joined The Retired Enlisted Association that works to protect retirement benefits of military personnel who spent their careers in the armed forces, according to the organization's website.
“(Military service) is a great way of life,” Jo Ann Kelly said.
Ira and Jo Ann Kelly plan to tell their stories to members of the community during an event to honor local veterans Monday at the Plum Borough Community Library.
Borough resident Elizabeth Kim, 36, who conducts a weekly life-writers course at the library has organized the event called “Share a Pair of Stories.”
Kim said the idea for the program honoring veterans originated from StoryCorps, an independent nonprofit whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share and preserve the stories of their lives, according to the group's website.
Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 45,000 interviews with nearly 90,000 participants.
The theme for last year's National Day of Listening on Nov. 23 was honor a veteran by asking more about their experience.
Kim said there wasn't an opportunity to conduct the program at the library in November.
Instead, she decided to organize the program for President's Day on Monday.
“We wanted to do it on a day that school kids could go, and they are off on President's Day,” Kim said.
Kim contacted the elementary schools in Plum about the program. Children are being asked to express their appreciation to veterans by writing thank-you notes or making cards that will be displayed at the library.
Veterans who participate in the event may take home a card or note of their choice.
The remaining cards will be displayed throughout the week and donated to an area VA hospital.
“Mainly, we want the veterans to feel appreciated and feel their stories are still important,” Kim said.
“And we want the children to understand the different jobs that people do.”
Ira and Jo Ann Kelly are members of Kim's life-writers course.
Ira Kelly, 66, served in the Army from 1964 through 1985 including four years during the Vietnam War.
Ira Kelly was a combat-helicopter crew chief.
His aircraft was shot down by the North Koreans during his stint from 1967-71.
During that time, he was held captive.
“I was a prisoner of war for one year and 128 days,” Ira Kelly said. “The Lord took care of me.”
After his release, Ira Kelly served an additional year in the military.
In addition to telling his story, Ira Kelly plans to tell youngsters to get a college education.
Jo Ann Kelly said she is proud of her husband's accomplishments.
Ira Kelly continues to work with veterans in the adult day care at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System in Aspinwall.
“Choose a military career,” Jo Ann Kelly said is her advice to youngsters.
“There is more than one way to serve.”
Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8753, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Delay of vote on cell tower in Plum keeps neighbors rattled
- Senior housing plan to be considered in Plum
- Plum School Board looks to correlation between new Pivik building and achievement while debating Regency Park’s future
- Former Pivik Elementary building may be demolished to make way for sports fields in Plum
- Plum 2015 budget includes wish lists that will be pared