Thanking veterans

First Posted: 11/1/2014

“Whenever you see a veteran, stop and thank them.”

State Rep. Karen Boback said that statement, often recited by her father, WWII Army Veteran Michael Passsarella, has made a lasting impact on her.

“He was always very patriotic and he made our home patriotic,” Boback said of her father.

The Eighth Annual Veterans Recognition and Information Expo hosted by Boback in conjunction with Misericordia University, the Dallas Student Leadership in Civics Club (SLIC) and Metz Culinary Management was held on Nov. 1. The event began with a breakfast for veterans provided by the Metz Group, in honor of veterans John Metz Sr. and Paul Lauch, fathers of John and Mary Metz. Following breakfast, veterans received 2014 commemorative pins of appreciation from Boback.

The presentation of colors was led by bagpiper Butch Modzelewski and the National Anthem was led by Sam Greenberg, of the Jewish War Veterans.

Russell Gunton, of Wyoming County, was one of the honored veterans. Gunton was with the active duty reserve for the Army from 1957-1963. He and his wife Pat, have attended the event at Misericorida for several years as Pat is also a volunteer with the expo.

“This is a great way to honor our veterans,” said Russell, who now works part time in Boback’s office, following his retirement from the PA Dept. of Agriculture after 16 years. The Guntons met at The University of Scranton, while they both were pursuing Master’s Degrees in Sociology.

Also among the honored was Louis Sewell, of Hanover Township, who served 16 ½ years in the Army during the Vietnam Era. The commander for the 33 posts of the Luzerne County American Legion, Sewell said that there were 17 military men and one military woman on his father’s side of the family.

“It is a good career,” he said of the military. “I enjoy being part of it.”

During the Dallas High School SLIC program, Joshua Frankevich, class of 2016, read the poem “In Flander’s Fields.” Frankevich comes from a long line of military men and women and plans to follow in their path. He added that he has family members who have fought “in every major conflict” in the nation, dating back to the Civil War and the American Revolution. He plans to participate in the ROTC program and is contemplating joining the Navy.

Brian Douse, class of 2015, read a remembrance dialog “POW/MIA Empty Chair” which displayed a table, place setting, candle and an empty chair representing the thousands of American POW/MIAs.

SLIC president Madalyn Bozinski and club member Aidan McLaughin, both from the class of 2015, poffered musical tributes to the veterans. McLaughlin played the acoustic guitar and accompanied vocals, while Bozinski provided the lead vocals.

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