'It's important that no veterans be forgotten'
Bringing the total to five, veteran Ken Colbert of Bullskin Township recently led the rededication ceremony of the new Alverton Honor Roll, joining the villages of Rocktown, Central, Tarrs and Ruffsdale as the other area memorials that Colbert brought back to life.
In a little more than two years, Colbert researched and worked at having the WWII honor rolls receive a rebirth in these towns.
“It's important that no veterans be forgotten,” Colbert said.
As with the other restored honor rolls, Colbert set out to find as many veterans as possible from the Alverton area, but found his task a bit harder as he could not locate any information on the original memorial or a listing of the names.
“I spent a lot of time looking at old newspapers,” Colbert said.
Finally locating the needed information, Colbert set out to find a location for the memorial and also funding for the project.
“The Southmoreland School District has been very enthusiastic all along about the honor roll,” Colbert said after the district agreed to allow the honor roll to be erected close to the original site which is on school property. “I can't thank them enough.”
Colbert also added the project was funded entirely by his Southmoreland graduating class of 1967 at no cost to the district.
The rededication ceremony was held 69 years to the day of the original ceremony, and two veterans whose names now appear on the wall were on hand to help with the ceremony.
“This is really something,” Navy Air Corps Seaman 1st Class Frank Stoner of Scottdale said of his name now being on the honor roll. “This is just great.”
Colbert planned the ceremony to be as close to the original as he could, with the Southmoreland band playing the musical selections that were played at the first ceremony on Oct. 3, 1943.
The ceremony also included invocation and benediction that were delivered by Pastor Tom Shirer of the Alverton United Methodist Church, with Tim Scott, assistant superintendent of the Southmoreland School District, reading the 93 names listed on the new monument.
“I think that this was just wonderful,” veteran Dee Cassidy of Mt. Pleasant Township said of the ceremony.
Cassidy also brought her father, WWII veteran Thomas Goga, to the ceremony.
“What he did was amazing for all the veterans,” Cassidy said of Colbert's working for years to have all the honor rolls restored. “He is a soldier's angel.”
Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.