Heroes among us

Rose Hoover/ THE EXPRESS Members of the Mountaintop community bow their heads in prayer during the ceremonies.

A proud day on the Mountaintop

By ROSE HOOVER

For The Express

SNOW SHOE — A monument stands at the corner of Olive and Railroad Streets in Snow Shoe. It was originally placed there in May 1943, during World War II, to honor and recognize military personnel from the Mountaintop area, which includes Snow Shoe, Clarence, Moshannon, Pine Glen, and the surrounding vicinity.

Seventy-five years later, almost to the day, the Mountaintop community came together again to dedicate the new Memorial Plaque in Snow Shoe. The ceremony, held on Saturday morning, May 19, was the culmination of much effort, dedication, and pride by many people.

Rose Hoover/ THE EXPRESS The wording on the new plaque reads, “Dedicated to the Men & Women of this Mountain Community who gave of themselves in Defense of Freedom throughout the World.”

Snow Shoe Borough Mayor Bill Dudish was the emcee for the event. Speakers included Congressman G. T. Thompson, Representative Mike Hanna, Centre County Commissioner Mark Higgins, and Centre County Veterans Affairs Officer Roger Elling.

Prayers were offered by Pastor Catherine Dittman, Pastor Daniel Stegeman, and Father Michael Wolfe. Eagle Scout James McMasters conducted the flag raising, and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Girl Scout Troup #41512.

Musical selections were provided by Douglas Cooper and Stephanie Baker, who played a trumpet rendition of To the Colors; Pastor Dittman, who sang the Star Spangled Banner; and students from the Mountaintop Elementary School, who sang America, under the direction of BEA Music Teacher, Nicole Kindleberger.

Mountaintop veterans George Basalla, Mike Guenot, Chester Houdeshell, Don Morgan, George Staco, and Gregg Watson had the honor of unveiling the new memorial plaque.

The Colors were presented by Members of the Clarence American Legion Cartwright-Martin Post 813 and Snow Shoe VFW Post 5644 Honor Guard, under the command of Sergeant of Arms Mike Kachik

Rose Hoover/ THE EXPRESS Standing for the National Anthem, which was sung by Pastor Catherine Dittman, are, from left, Snow Shoe Borough Mayor William Dudish, Congressman G. T. Thompson, Representative Mike Hanna, Father Michael Wolfe, Pastor Daniel Stegeman, and Centre County Commissioner Mark Higgins.

The Snow Shoe Borough is responsible for the maintenance of the plaque, which is located in front of the Snow Shoe Fire Company building. There have been several restorations of the plaque since 1943, including one restoration completed by community member Don Morgan, after he returned home from naval service in 1971.

The current $45,000 memorial plaque project was mainly funded through the efforts of the Snow Shoe Fall Festival Committee. The committee members have raised funds for the past 10 years by organizing the Fall Festival, which is held annually at the Snow Shoe Park.

Fall Festival Committee Chairman, Betty Lou Dudish, gave special thanks to Jared and Barb Mitchell for organizing the annual truck show at the Festival, and to Steve and Marcy Beam for organizing the Festival’s car show.

Dudish also thanked Tim Nilson for researching, editing, and compiling the 36-page dedication booklet for the 2018 Memorial Plaque Dedication Ceremony. The booklet included much local historical information, including the original cover and advertisements from the 1943 dedication booklet.

Other members of the Fall Festival Committee are Bonnie Croyle; Bill, Debrah, and Luanna Dudish; Mike and Liz Guenot; Michael and Carol Krisch; George Staco; and Denise Surovec.

A community picnic, held at the Snow Shoe Park immediately following the dedication ceremony, was also funded by the Fall Festival Committee. Volunteers from the Snow Shoe VFW Auxiliary and Clarence Legion Auxiliary – headed by Liz Guenot – served the luncheon. The Lions David House Museum provided a display of local military memorabilia at the picnic.

Dudish emphasized that the efforts of many community members made the memorial plaque project a reality, saying “Everyone working together and bringing the community together. It was a group thing – everybody did their part.”

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