'We can't honor veterans enough'

Cary Ashby • Nov 12, 2018 at 8:00 PM

MONROEVILLE — Maureen Dreschel, a third-grade teacher at Monroeville Elementary School, told the veterans at the annual Veterans Day program that “we appreciate all your sacrifices.”

Monroeville High School Principal Jim Kaczor echoed the appreciation in Dreschel’s opening comments Friday in the Monroeville Athletic Complex (MAC).

“We can’t honor veterans enough, so you get a whole weekend to (be honored),” said Kaczor, who encouraged everyone to hold veterans “in high regard.”

Local Boy Scouts presented the colors for the Pledge of Allegiance. The combined junior high/high school band performed “The Star Spangled Banner” and later in the program, the second-grade music classes sang “Yankee Doodle Dandy” while the third- and fourth-grade students also sang a patriotic tribute to veterans.

To close the all-school assembly, the band performed “Freedom Finale” and the choir of fifth-grade students through seniors sang “We Honor You.”

Students’ Veterans Day-inspired artwork decorated the hallways. Senior Allie Schafer organized the work from art teacher Laurie Replogle’s classes into a video slide-show that was was part of the program Friday in the MAC. Also shown during the presentation were photographs of area veterans in uniform.

Schafer also helped Quilts of Honor Foundation volunteer Joanne Hubbard with presenting patriotic quilts, used to say “thank you,” show appreciation and provide comfort, to several local veterans. Those recipients were: Larry Boehler (U.S. Air Force), Steve Doerner (U.S. Navy), Joe Metarko (U.S. Army), James Meyer (Navy), Raymond Miller Jr. (Navy), Max Opper (Air Force) and Roger Tallman (U.S. Marine Corps). 

“I love doing this for the community. … We hope you find comfort and healing in this quilt,” Hubbard said. “We are eternally grateful for your service.”

Four additional veterans who declined to have their names made public and be recognized also received quilts. Hubbard said those four people symbolize what featured speaker, Army veteran Mike Durning, mentioned — that heroes don’t consider themselves heroes and often don’t want attention.

In the last three years, 33 Monroeville-area veterans have received Quilts of Honor.

“Heroes are found giving themselves for each other, for others,” said Durning, Dreschel’s older brother, and whose 97-year-old mother served in the Army in World War II. “Most true heroes will tell you I’m not a hero.”

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