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Connellsville Patriots program to honor veterans

| Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, 8:54 p.m.

Honoring the brave men and women who have served the country is an important tradition, and one group has dedicated its efforts to honoring, remembering and cherishing all veterans who have served in all wars.

The Connellsville Area High School Patriots club focuses solely on veterans and will host its annual lunch and program at 11 a.m. Nov. 16.

“This is just a small way to show our appreciation to those who have fought and defended freedom,” said CAHS Patriots founder Linda Shearer. “If they hadn't served, we would not have the liberties we have to enjoy daily.”

This year's program will be slightly different, as the lunch and brief program will be held at the Pennsylvania National Guard Readiness Center in Connellsville, followed by the dedication of the piece of the World Trade Center that the group acquired in 2011.

The event welcomes all veterans from the area, and, each year, the group is thrilled to have more and more participate.

“The program began as a breakfast and program at the high school and has changed into a lunch and program at the Readiness Center,” Shearer said. “More and more veterans attend each year; however, there are familiar faces that are absent as the years move on, and we miss them greatly.”

The lunch will be followed by a short program that will feature speakers and guests, then each branch of the military will be recognized and honored.

The piece from the World Trade Center that is located in the lobby of the newly renovated Connellsville Area High School will be dedicated.

In addition to the Veterans Day program, CAHS Patriots members, including students, parents and community members, work tirelessly all year to bring honor and respect to veterans.

“The last 10 12 years have been a remarkable journey,” Shearer said. “I promised when we began that we would continue until they are all home or God called me home. I appreciate everything that everyone has done to support our projects, including the packages, the veterans program, the monument for the CAHS graduates who died in service, the wreaths at the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies and obtaining and now dedicating the WTC artifact.

“Did I ever imagine we could accomplish over a half a million dollars of community service and obtain a priceless piece of history? I just wanted to make sure that no one ever feels the way our Korean and Vietnam veterans were made to feel. They only did what their country sent them to do. It's been the most challenging yet rewarding experience of a lifetime,” she said.

The lunch and program are free to attend, and any veteran who is interested can contact Shearer at 724-628-9745 or LShearer@casdfalcons.org.

Reservations must be made by Thursday.

The Readiness Center is at 701 Petersburg Road, Connellsville, and Connellsville Area High School is at 201 Falcon Drive, Connellsville.

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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