Norwin school recognizes veterans |
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Joe Napsha

Earl Mills of North Huntingdon stood up from the seat of his rolling walker Thursday morning at Sheridan Terrace Elementary School in the Norwin School District to be recognized for his military service, which took him halfway across the world more than 65 years ago.

Mills, who served in the Marine Corps from 1953 to 1956, was with his great-granddaughter, fourth-grader Aniela Jalosky of Irwin, who introduced him to about 200 people at the special Veterans Day program at the North Huntingdon school. Aniela was one of about 70 youngsters who offered a brief background of the military career of their family member in attendance.

Honorees included those on active duty and veterans; three women were among those recognized.

Mills, at 84, was one of the oldest honorees. He grew up in Oneida, N.Y., and was in the Marine Corps boot camp at the end of the Korean Conflict, which ended in July 1953. Still, he was sent to the Pacific, where he was stationed for a time in postwar Japan, and in Okinawa, a Japanese island that was the site of a brutal battle between the United States and Japan in the spring of 1945.

Aniela is one of his three great-grandchildren at Sheridan Terrace. Emmaline and Ivan Jalosky also attend.

Charles Krisfalusi of Cook Township, a staff sergeant in the Air Force from 1968 to 1972, was recognized.

Krisfalusi, 71, who grew up in the Ligonier Township village of Wilpen, said he enlisted in the Air Force during the Vietnam War.

“I was not sent to Vietnam because two other brothers had served there,” Krisfalusi said. He explained that the military sent one brother home from Vietnam, then shipped the other there to serve.

As he sat through the program, his grandson, Luca Krisfalusi, took his blue Air Force dress uniform hat and proudly put it on his head. As for the Air Force jacket he held, Krisfalusi said the days of fitting into it are long past.

Samuel Stack, 38, of Irwin, who served in the Marine Corps from 2000 to 2006, said he is a veteran of school Veterans Day programs. He was introduced by his first-grade daughter, Anna, and has been with his son at similar programs.

“We’ve made the rounds,” said Stack, who was deployed to Iraq in 2005.

Heather Newell, principal at Sheridan Terrace, said the ceremony has been a tradition for many years.

Similar programs in the district are planned for Hahntown Elementary School on Monday and on Nov. 12 at Sunset Valley Elemenary School. Stewartsville Elementary had its program on Wednesday.

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