Celebrations, Commemorations and Inductions

By Paula Green

         The staff at VA Butler’s Cranberry Township Community-Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) hosted a surprise centennial celebration on Mar. 24.  World War II Army veteran William “Bill” Proffitt turned 100 years old on March 27, and the hospital staff honored him for his years of military service.

        Proffitt was drafted into the U.S. Army in June 1941, and he served in Great Britain during the war.  In 1945, he was discharged and returned to civilian life where he worked as a welder for J&L Steel for 40 years.

        During the centennial celebration, Proffitt was presented with two challenge coins.  His VA provider Lauren Stancik presented him with a Valor coin and (Ret) Brigadier General Roy Uptegraff, the former Commander of the 171st ARW gave him the Adjutant General’s coin.

        On March 26, Soldiers & Sailors held their Hall of Valor Induction Ceremony.  Thirteen honorees who represented seven Pennsylvania counties, four branches of the U.S. military received four types of medals awarded for gallantry. 

      World War II veterans that were honored with the Distinguished Flying Cross award were – U.S. Army Air Corps – William Fahrenhold, John Rodgers, Joseph Walters and Arthur Halfpapp (KIA); U.S. Marine Corps vet Dale Spridik; Vietnam veteran U.S. Army James Patterson.

       World War II veteran Rudolph Schuller received the Distinguished Service Cross. Barry Gasdek of Westmoreland County also received this honor.

        Silver Stars were awarded to World War II veterans – David McCusker of the U.S. Navy, John McMahon of the U.S. Army (KIA), Vietnam veterans Vaughn Flizanes (KIA) and Pasquale Papalia.  U.S. Air Force vet Dale Eppinger was honored with the Air Force Cross.

         On April 1, the community of Zelienople welcomed home a local soldier.  Staff Sgt. Jesse Hogan returned home from a one-year deployment in Qatar.  Hogan is a member of the Army National Guard.  He previously served two tours of duty in Iran and one in Afghanistan.

        Hogan was welcomed home by his wife Candace, four-year old son Tristan, and his parents Brad and Kristen Hogan.  He also received a homecoming tribute from 67 motorcyclists from the American Legion Freedom Riders.  The Zelienople community waved banners and flags on Main Street as Hogan made his way home.

        Another special veteran’s event occurred on April 29, when the second Honor Flight of Pittsburgh sent Vietnam and Korean War Veterans to Washington, D.C.  The vets toured the monuments as a tribute of their service to our country. Upon their return, Seneca Valley students, friends and parents surprised the Vets with a patriotic greeting at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry Township.

         Northern Connection magazine salutes and honors all these veterans for their support and service to our country.