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The Greatest Generation leaves many untold stories

Vol. 115 No. 27

USPS 439-000

By Ron Portash

of Mainline Newspapers

The Greatest Generation, those who fought in World War II and those who supported them on the home front, continue to pass away as time marches on, and many stories of heroism, luck, ordinary life, boredom and loss of friends and family to war fade into oblivion with them. On Thursday, June 27, Veteran Community Initiatives (VCI) honored about three dozen World War II veterans at the Mirage banquet facility in Richland. One of those veterans with stories to tell

Portage, Pa.

was 94-year-old Donald Brunnet, of Portage. Brunnet’s story is one of those stories that is rarely told, he was lucky enough to serve his country in the United States Army without being sent to the war zone. During this time period, only 40 percent of Army personnel was stationed in combat zones. The remaining 60 percent provided logistics, medical and administrative support. There are many war stories of heroism and death, but few are told of the ordinary life of a veteran who took part in the greatest fight to save freedom and preserve our way of life.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Donald Brunnet

Since 1904

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Prior to graduating from high school in Portage, Brunnet tried to enlist in the Army Air Corps in late 1943. Like most teenagers of the time, he was fascinated by flying. Newspaper and radio coverage of the time made heroes of Army Air Corps flyers, like local legend Buzz Wagner of Johnstown, the first ace of the war credited with shooting down five Japanese aircraft in 1942. Because Brunnet was required to wear glasses, and floods of recruits with perfect eyesight filled the ranks of hopeful pilots, Brunnet was rejected by the Air Corps. Upon graduation from

for Mainline Newspapers

Enjoying the day

Forest Hills Hometown Heroes pole banner project begins

By Ron Portash

of Mainline Newspapers

The St. Michael American Legion Post 551 Auxiliary has announced the start of its Hometown Heroes project to honor and recognize Forest Hills area military men and women who have served, are currently serving or gave their lives for our country in the United States Armed Forces. The project will place 50 double-sided banners on utility poles along Locust Street stretching from near the intersection of Locust and Main streets in St. Michael to the end of Locust Street where it meets Mill Street and Forest Hills Drive in Sidman. The banners will be in place prior

Hometown Heroes banner

to Memorial Day 2020 and remain up until after Veterans’ Day. Each banner will be used for two years. After the two years, the sponsoring family or organization must take possession of the banners. An effort is planned to expand the program in the future, but per-

mitting by utility regulators will have to be sought. After the first 50 banner requests are received, a waiting list will be created if additional spots are permitted or for placement after the expiration of the two-year contract of the original banners. Organizers Lisa Sivic and Marj Shingler said that it took more than a year to get to the point where the applications for the banners can be accepted. Sivic said they are still awaiting the final clearance report from Penelec engineers on which utility poles can be used. Shingler stressed that the Adams Township Supervisors have been extremely helpful and cooperative in getting permission to place the banners on the utility poles. The supervisors assisted Sivic and Shingler in getting clearance from PennDOT since Locust Street is State Route 869. The thought behind creating the program began when Sivic saw a town in the northern portion of

SEE BANNERS, PAGE 7A

high school in early 1944, Brunnet began employment at Bethlehem Steel in Johnstown. Less than six months after graduation, Brunnet received a notice that the local draft board selected him to serve. For his Army training, Brunnet first traveled to Fort A.P. Hill for basic training. From there he was sent to Fort Meade, Maryland, and then on to Camp Lee, Virginia. He was trained to be part of the Quartermaster Corps to provide logistic support to troops in combat zones. SEE STORIES, PAGE 3A

Teachers hired at FH board meeting

By Sean Wechtenhiser

Kaylee (left, front) Emmie, Ann (back, left) and Jim Johns take in the sunshine, food and fun at South Fork Heritage Days June 22. Photo by Ron Portash.

28 Pages

Work for the 2019-20 school year officially got underway at a special meeting of the Forest Hills School Board June 26. The main focus of the meeting was hiring new teaching staff for the upcoming school year. In addition to the hires, the board also approved change orders for the athletic complex work that is underway on the district’s campus. Several teachers were hired at the June 26 meeting. Denae Dorian was hired at a salary of $49,075 and Kara Matthews was hired at the salary of $46,800. Kaitlyn Stiffler was hired as a math teacher at a salary of $42,800. Jenna Ricci-Dykes was hired as a science teacher at a salary of $49,075, and Gabrielle Bilchak was hired as a health/physical education

Day together

teacher at a salary of $42,800. Discussion was tabled on the hiring of a second science teacher. Bernice Cononie was hired as the special education secretary at a salary of $11.50 per hour. The district also discussed the ongoing work on the district’s athletic complexes. Board members were shown color samples for a block retaining wall to be constructed for the softball field, which will be in the corner of the football stadium. The wall will be two to three rows of block behind the dugouts and the backstop. The board members chose natural as the color of the blocks for the wall. Change orders were also discussed. The first change order involved raising existing inlets (drains) approxi-

SEE HIRES, PAGE 4A

Lisa (left) and Angelica Marsh enjoy the activities at South Fork Heritage Days on June 22. Photo by Ron Portash.

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