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Ceremony in Fayette County salutes retiring Marine on Veterans Day

| Monday, Nov. 12, 2012, 11:58 p.m.
Brandon Rumbaugh of Uniontown (left) hands Catherine Farley, president of the Student Veterans Association at Penn State Fayette the Eberly Campus, a piece of ice cream cake as they celebrate Rumbaugh's retirement from the Marine Corps after a ceremony held on Monday, Nov. 12, 2012. Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier
Capt. Kevin Zaffino (center) of Erie, a selection officer for Western Pennsylvania, honors Marine Cpl. Brandon Rumbaugh (right) of Uniontown, who stands with his girlfriend by his side during Rumbaugh's retirement ceremony at Penn State Fayette the Eberly Campus on Monday, Nov. 12, 2012. Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier

A ceremony marking the official retirement of a Marine who was seriously wounded in Afghanistan highlighted a student-run Veterans Day observance at Penn State Fayette.

Monday marked the first time the annual observance was organized by student veterans, said Apryl Kadish, veterans admission counselor. About 15 students are active in the year-old Penn State Student Veterans Association.

During the ceremony, Marine Cpl. Brandon Rumbaugh of Uniontown was officially retired. Rumbaugh lost both legs to an improvised explosive device while running to rescue another Marine who also stepped on an IED in November 2010 in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Rumbaugh, 23, joined the Marines in 2007 after spending a semester at Seton Hill University in Greensburg. His four-year military career included service in Iraq and Afghanistan. Rumbaugh is studying business at Fayette campus.

“The overall goal is to start and run my own business,” Rumbaugh said.

Katherine Farley, an Iraq war veteran and president of the student group, said Rumbaugh is “passionate about doing well in school” and assisting fellow veterans.

“He could have taken (the injury) in a negative direction, and done nothing and checked out,” said Farley, 26, of Mt. Pleasant. “But he's really about helping veterans. He's a very good individual.”

Another Iraq war veteran, Jon Behlke, 35, of Uniontown, asked those in attendance to keep all veterans in their thoughts.

“I ask all of you, when Veterans Day comes around every year, take more than just a silent moment to remember those that sacrificed so that you could be where you are today,” Behlke said.

Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or lzemba@tribweb.com.

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