Greensburg Salem Education Foundation to honor 2 alumni
William “Bill” Jackson and Julius Falcon knew the best way to live their lives was to give back, Greensburg Salem High School Principal David Zilli said.
“They do for themselves by doing for others,” Zilli said.
Jackson and Falcon will be honored at the fourth annual Greensburg Salem Education Foundation Distinguished Alumni Banquet on Friday.
Falcon will be the first person to receive the distinction posthumously. The World War II Army veteran died in August.
He played trumpet in the Greensburg Salem High School band as a student in the 1930s because he was too small to play football, his daughter Mary Manley said.
He discovered a new calling for his musical talent during the war.
“They were getting bombed, and he dove into a foxhole and prayed to God, ‘If you ever get me through this and out of this alive, I will play taps for any veteran,' ” she said.
He kept that promise. He played his trumpet at 6,623 military funerals.
Manley said her father would be pleased to be recognized alongside Bill Jackson.
“Most of us have had Mr. Jackson, and he was our track coach, so we all have ties to him; so we couldn't be more thrilled to have our dad honored with Mr. Jackson,” she said.
Jackson said he will be in good company.
“I was stunned, really. I went to the banquet last year and I was impressed with the honorees,” he said.
Previous distinguished alumni include Howard “Huddie” Kaufman, Paul “Murph” Murphy, Dr. Jack “Doc” Smith, Anita Leonard, John J. Driscoll and Ed “Hutch” Hutchinson.
Jackson was a football standout at Greensburg Salem in the 1950s. An Army veteran, he returned to his hometown to teach at Greensburg Salem School District.
He spent decades with the district, teaching and coaching football and track. He volunteered with the city recreation department, where he coached baseball and managed a track clinic, eventually becoming the softball commissioner.
Though he retired in 1999, he still lends a hand to anyone in need, said Anita Leonard, corresponding secretary for the Greensburg Salem Education Foundation.
“He would go back to Greensburg Salem, if there was a student who needed something, and try to show them the way,” she said.
Jackson volunteers at Maxwell Elementary School in Hempfield Area School District.
“I think everybody needs help on this journey through life,” he said. “I was helped, and one of the things you want to do is give back. It's very neat to see what kids accomplish.”
The Greensburg Salem Education Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides scholarships and grants for the school district.
The Distinguished Alumni Banquet will begin at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Ferrante's Lakeview Restaurant in Hempfield.
Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6646 or email@example.com.