October Troops By: Paula Green

 The month of October is filled with pumpkins, harvests and fall events.  But for a group of veterans, it is time to walk for their cause.   The 35th annual Veteran’s March for Diabetes will be held Oct. 5-7.  The team will be sponsored and escorted across the finish line by the VFW Color Guard West View #2754 at the McKnight Post Office.

        The VFW Department of Penna., diabetes chairman, Bob Mandera will lead his team in the 100-mile trek from Erie to Pittsburgh.  “My dream was to someday raise $1 million for diabetes research and with the help of the VFW Posts across Penna.; almost $2 million has been raised.  Twenty-five percent of our veteran population has diabetes, so our march goes on for a cure,” Mandera said.

        This year’s walk is being held in special memory of the late Eleanor Paul and Eileen Paul who were instrumental in composing news releases for the walk fundraisers.  Marchers this year include: John Gotz, Ken Williams, Scott McKenzie, Dan Casciato, Cecil Dennis, Charlie Castelluccio, and father and son team Mike and Mike Boris.  For more info, on the Veteran’s March for Diabetes, call (412) 837-1918.

        The Chamber of Commerce is hosting the Veteran Leaders luncheon, called “Transition Forward.”  The program will be held, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Oct. 11, and will enlighten veterans on how to succeed in the competitive business world.   For details, call (724) 776-4949.

        Veterans who live in Hampton, work there or are graduates of their high school are being sought for the district’s Hampton Heroes program.  This special event will take place on Nov. 12, at Hampton High School.

        Approximately 200 Hampton men and women have been inducted as Hampton Heroes and are recognized at their Veterans Day program.  Deceased veterans, including those killed in combat – are eligible for nomination by any family member or friend.  For information, call (412) 492-6358 or stennett@ht-sd.org.

        On Aug. 24, Purple Heart recipient Sgt. Joshua Caskey returned to his home in Cranberry Township after the completion of a renovation blitz.  Caskey medically retired from the Marines in March due to injuries he suffered on his second tour of duty in Iraq. 

        The “Touchdown for Homes” renovation project was completed with the help of Pittsburgh remodelers, builders, suppliers, tradesmen, former NFL players and many other who generously donated their to time Aug. 20-24 to retrofit the Caskey home, for him and his wife Kelly and their four children.  A celebration was held that included U.S. Marine Corps honor guard, a flag dedication, along with a private tour of the Caskey home.

        An All-American farewell celebration was held in Northmont Farms on Sept. 2, for U.S. Army Captain Frances Lamb.  The send-off party was for Lamb’s deployment to Afghanistan.  She is the daughter of Kathleen and Michael Lamb, M.D., of Franklin Park.

        On Sept. 6, Market Square was swaying with “Salutes and Swing in the Square.”  World War II veterans held a fundraiser for the World War II Memorial, which is being built on the North Shore.  The event was held to raise awareness and funds for the memorial, which is ten years in the making at a cost of $4 million. The vets are close to obtaining the necessary funds for the project; however, they are still $300,000 of their goal.  For information on World War II Memorial, visit http://www.alleghenycounty.us/veterans/wwii.aspx.

         For the fourth consecutive year, La Roche College was named a Military Friendly School® by G.I. Jobs.   This list honors the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace America’s service members and veterans as students.