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Perryopolis, Perry Township complete Memorial Day plans

| Friday, May 16, 2014, 5:21 p.m.

Perryopolis and Perry Township Veterans of Foreign Wars Gold Star Post 7023 and American Legion Post 752 will conduct a Memorial Day Service at 10 a.m. May 26 in the auditorium of Frazier High School, Perryopolis.

The Memorial Day program is dedicated in honor of veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

The service will begin with the Frazier High School/Middle School Band, directed by Matthew Ratai, performing the “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance with the audience will be Boy Scout Troop 625 and Scoutmaster Gregory Potter; Cadet Troop 54078 leaders Dana Boyd and Lorri Clem; and Cub Scout Pack 626 and Pack leader Lisa Maurer. An invocation will be delivered by lay minister Ross Ackinclose.

Peter P. Pierotti, chairman of the Memorial Day program committee, will begin with brief remarks. Robert Chuboy, commander of VFW Post 7023, will give the welcome address.

Norman L. Zimmerman, commander of American Legion Post 752, will introduce the dignitaries attending the services.

John Cernuska, auditor of VFW Post 7023, will present the Patriotic Flag Raising Award to volunteer flag-raisers from schools in the Frazier School District. These are Central Elementary: Hailey College, Owen Newcomer, Nick Novak and Payton Strickler; Perry Elementary: Kenny Fine, Aiden Shetterly, Skylar Hone and Emily Palonder; and Frazier High School and Frazier Middle School: Avery Matthews and Chris Maurer.

Teacher sponsors are Edward Elnikar of Central Elementary; Susan Guiser of Perry Elementary; Principal Michael Turek of Frazier Middle School; and Principal Chris Sefcheckof Frazier High School.

John Shortman will introduce and present awards to the winners of the Patriots Pen and Voice of Democracy contests. The awards are sponsored by the VFW and its Ladies Auxiliary.

Avery Scott Mathews and John D. Celaschi of Frazier Middle School are the winners of the Patriots Pen contest and will read their essays on “What Patriotism Means to Me.” They will receive a $75 prize from VFW Post 7023.

Celaschi placed third in the district and will receive a $50 award.

Frazier High School student Brice K. Strickler, winner of the Voice of Democracy contest, will present his oration “Why I am Optimistic About Our Nations Future.” He will receive a $75 prize from the post. Teachers Michael Shannon of Frazier Middle School and Joanne Cushman of Frazier High School sponsored the Patriots Pen and Voice of Democracy respectively.

Following the presentation of the awards, the Frazier band will perform patriotic musical selections.

Guest speaker will be state Rep. Deberah Kula, 52nd District, D-Westmoreland/Fayette.

At the conclusion of Kula's speech, Ratai will present a Memorial Day Video.

Following the video, Tony A. Fao Sr., co-chairman of the program committee, will memorialize comrades who died in 2013 and so far this yearm by reading their names and then pausing for a moment of silence in their honor.

Honored veterans will be Wayne Anthony, Henry DiVirgilio, Joseph E. Garcher, Kenneth M. Herspold, Job “Craig” Martin, Richard J. Osborne, David Pagesh,Charles E. Saxon Jr., James P. Shaw, Donald B. Shipley, Thomas P. Slebodnik, Gerald R. Stewart and Ronald Wilson Jr.

The Rev. Anthony Ditto of St. John Roman Catholic Church, Perryopolis, will give the benediction.

The services will continue at the honor roll adjacent to the school with Ackinclose delivering a memorial and dedication prayer. Boy Scout Troop 625 will raise the American flag and lower it to half-staff and place wreaths at the honor roll.

The ceremonial firing squad, under the direction of Fao and under the command of Thomas Glawinsky, will give the traditional salute for fallen comrades. Ending the tribute will be the playing of taps by the Frazier Band buglers Russell Potter and Chelsea Clem.

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