Former Army chief to speak at fundraiser for Westmoreland War on Terror monument |

Former Army chief to speak at fundraiser for Westmoreland War on Terror monument

Jeff Himler
Jeff Himler | Tribune-Review
Area organizers erect a sign on March 23, 2019, announcing planned development of a memorial honoring veterans of the war on terror, to be situated at the Peach Plaza area of Twin Lakes Park, along Georges Station Road in Hempfield. From left are: Robert Prah, director of the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs at California University of Pennsylvania; retired Navy Seabees reservist Mark Lockwood of Hempfield; Sam Wagner of Hempfield, retired colonel with the Army Reserves; North Huntingdon resident Lt. Col. Daryll Bertani, of the Pa. National Guard.

Retired Gen. George W. Casey Jr., who served as the Army Chief of Staff from 2007 until his 2011 retirement, will deliver the keynote address to those attending a dinner Nov. 1 in Hempfield that will raise money for the planned Westmoreland County Veterans of the War on Terror monument.

The event, at Ferrante’s Lakeview banquet facility on Route 30, will include a 5:30 p.m. reception for Casey, followed by the meal at 6:30 p.m.

The cost is $50 per person. Those who would like to attend or would like more information may call 724-640-9473 to reach retired Col. Sam Wagner, president of the organization that is pursuing the monument project. He served as an Army reservist in Iraq in 2005-06.

A 41-year Army veteran, Casey was the commanding general of multinational forces in Iraq from 2004 to 2007. His father, Maj. Gen. George W. Casey Sr., was the highest-ranking American killed in the Vietnam War, in a 1970 helicopter crash, Wagner noted.

Now a motivational speaker, the younger Casey serves as Cornell University’s Distinguished Senior Lecturer of Leadership at the Samuel Johnson Graduate School of Management.

During his visit to Southwestern Pennsylvania, Casey also will mentor area ROTC and Junior ROTC members during a stop at the University of Pittsburgh’s Greensburg campus, Wagner said. Casey additionally plans to attend a Nov. 2 ceremony naming a section of Route 50 in Washington County for Lieutenant Colonel Juanita L. Warman, according to Wagner.

A psychiatric nurse practitioner, Warman, 55, who spent her childhood in Avella, was preparing to deploy to Iraq in 2009, when she was slain in a Nov. 5 mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas. She posthumously was awarded a Purple Heart.

Warman is credited with saving the life of a fellow soldier, who also is expected to attend the Nov. 2 ceremony, Wagner said. When shots were fired at Fort Hood, Wagner said, Warman “threw the young soldier to the ground and fell on top of her. The soldier was injured, but lived.”

Organizers are proposing to develop a Patriot’s Day Plaza at Georges Station Road and Streetpark Loop, at Twin Lakes Park in Hempfield. The plaza would feature a Global War On Terror monument and a memorial to military service members who have been killed in action.

The goal is to dedicate the monument on Sept. 11, 2021 — the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Somerset County that led to America’s ongoing war on terror.

A separate Super Bingo fundraiser is slated for Nov. 17 at the Jeannette American Legion post. Doors open at 11 a.m. and games begin at 1 p.m. A $50 donation includes a bingo card packet and lunch, served at noon. Questions about the bingo event or ticket inquiries may be directed to 724-980-4586.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Local | Westmoreland
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