As a society we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us; of those men and women who made great strides and sacrificed to advance our nation.
On Saturday, people across the country and across the Midstate came together to honor those men and women who put on the uniform in service of the United States of America.
“Across the globe, our military personnel are standing directly between our people and the worst dangers in the world,” South Middleton Township Supervisor and retired U.S. Army Col. Tom Faley said during a ceremony at Spring Meadows Park in Boiling Springs. “We must resolve to thank each day our veterans for their outstanding service to our nation.”
Faley spoke Saturday in front of a newly built flagpole that was installed as part of local Boy Scout Matt Otto’s Eagle Scout project.
The 70-foot flag pole sits at the entrance of the park and is accompanied by a memorial stone to U.S Army Master Sgt. Scott Ball, a South Middleton Township resident who was killed in Afghanistan in 2007.
“The memorial to Scott Ball has been moved in front of the flagpole to give a better spot of honor within this park,” Otto said. “While I’m never sure what is going on at the state and national level, I know the members of my community will step up and support a good cause. They will always remember and respect the men and women like Master Sgt. Scott Ball who fought for the freedoms we enjoy.”
Members of the community also gathered Saturday morning in the old Cumberland County Courthouse in Carlisle to give thanks to all members of the armed services.
“I don’t have to tell you all that the world is a dangerous place,” U.S. Army War College Commandant Maj. Gen. John Kem said. “You watch TV, you see headlines, it’s a dangerous place. You can read those headlines and be worried. The problems and challenges of the world are complex and uncertain, and there are things to worry about.”
However, while younger generations may at times be derided by the older generations, Kem said the nation’s armed services are in good hands.
“I can tell you from having served in the Army for the last 32 years, the young Americans who serve in the Army today, the Marines, the Coast Guard, the Navy and the Air Force ... they are just like the veterans who sit here in the audience and those who served throughout history,” Kem said. “What makes them so good is the legacy of those who came before them.”
Hometown Heroes banners were presented to the families of 12 local veterans during Newville’s annual Veterans Day service Saturday morning.
“This year, 96 family members said that they would be there,” said Patricia Reed, chairman of the Newville Joint Veterans Council. “This is one of the largest turnouts we’ve had.”
Each banner features a picture of a fallen soldier, along with his or her name, rank and branch of service. Reed said the banners are hung on lampposts throughout Newville at the beginning of summer, and taken down and given to family members during the Veterans Day service.
She said the council works with Newville Borough to sponsor the program, which began four years ago at the suggestion of Borough Manager Fred Potzer.
“He said that other communities were doing this, and I brought it before the (veterans) council,” she said. “We took a vote and thought it was a wonderful idea.”
This year’s Hometown Heroes are Jay W. Myers, Elmer C. Bordner, Clarence T. Hollenbaugh, Earl Miller, Robert E. Clouse, Albert A. Clouse, Carroll W. Clouse, William T. Cline, William M. Stouffer Sr., William J. Cyr, Bennett H. Felix and Grace E. Witter Lehman.
U.S. Marine Corps veteran Robert Gilbert was the guest speaker at the service, which was sponsored by the veterans council.
A native of Newville, Gilbert served in Vietnam. He remains active today in many organizations, including the American Legion, the VFW, the Marine Corps League and Toys For Tots.
“I had a good tour of duty,” he told the crowd that gathered at the fountain for the service Saturday. “I loved the Marine Corps.”
He said he has always tried to help others, and he encouraged those in attendance to do the same, especially if they suspect a veteran is “burned out” and perhaps in need of someone to talk to.
“It’s good to do something good for people,” he said. “I try to help anybody I can.”
Gilbert talked about the many programs he supports. In particular, he said that Toys For Tots provides toys for thousands of children and asked the community for its support.
“It’s nice for every kid to wake up with a toy on Christmas morning,” he said.
Randy Lehman, of Newville, was master of ceremonies for the service. He led the Pledge of Allegiance and introduced guests, which included American Legion and VFW post commanders, the mayor and borough council members, and the president of the American Legion Auxiliary.
Members of the audience were also given the opportunity to recognize family members who have served or are currently serving.
The Rev. Don Snyder, pastor of the Doubling Gap Church of God in Newville, offered the invocation and benediction. He thanked all veterans for their service, asked everyone to remember the sacrifices they have made “to provide the freedoms we have today” and prayed for God’s protection.
The national anthem was sung by Mary Hayslett, of Newville, and the rifle salute was followed by “Taps” by Neil McCulloch, of Newville.
A man is dead after a shooting Sunday afternoon in Carlisle.
Carlisle Police Sgt. David Miller said police responded to a home at the corner of West North Street and North College Street at 3:11 p.m. Sunday for a shooting and found Rhyhiem Hodge, 35, of Carlisle, dead of apparent gunshot wounds. An autopsy is scheduled for a later date.
Miller added that there was also a shooting outside of the building, but as of Sunday night, police did not know if there was a victim of that second shooting. Police were hesitant to connect the two Sunday night.
Because of the second shooting, however, Miller called the area a “complex” crime scene involving half a block of evidence. The area was closed to the public for hours.
Police are still looking for the shooter, but noted that there is no evidence suggesting there is a threat to the public.
There are some students who make a classroom and a school brighter by simply being there. Trinity High School senior Laura Weiss is one of those students.
“While Laura’s resume is a laundry list of clubs activities and sports, what I like most about her is that she is a sheer joy to be around,” wrote Trinity High School teacher Linda Piscioneri in a letter of recommendation for Weiss. “She is kind, helpful, supremely modest and a hard worker.”
Weiss carries a 4.6 GPA. In fact her GPA during all four of her years in high school has held above a 4.0. This is while taking multiple advanced and AP level courses and keeping a full schedule out of the classroom.
“There’s lots of planning, weeks ahead,” Weiss joked. “I always have my planner out and I’m flipping through it and doing stuff.”
It is that sustained success that Weiss said was her greatest accomplishment.
“There’s not one accomplishment that (I’d consider) the greatest, but it’s really just maintaining this stuff over time,” Weiss said. “Like, the grades, getting first honors all the time ... a lot of work goes into that. So, I’m really proud that.”
Beyond academics, Weiss is a highly accomplished musician, playing multiple instruments and singing.
She is a violinist in the Harrisburg Symphony Youth Orchestra, a former member of the Susquehanna Young Women’s Chorale, a member of the Susquehanna Youth Chorale and a vocalist in the Messiah College Choral Arts Society.
“I’ve been through a lot of auditions,” Weiss joked. “I work with my private teachers a lot. I just love music, so it’s not really hard for me to work on a piece and practice it and get to know it. I just love to learn new music and I love performing.”
Weiss is the daughter of Anna Barnhart and William Weiss, of Mechanicsburg. She credits her parents with a great deal of her success.
“They’ve always supported me through everything,” Weiss said. “They’ve always encouraged me to do better and supported me through everything.”
While it would be easy for Weiss to pursue a career in music given the accomplishments she has already achieved, she said she plans to follow in her parents’ footsteps for a career in science.
Her father works in bioengineering, and her mother is a veterinarian.
“I’m thinking biology is where I’m leaning right now, or chemistry,” she said. “I’m hoping to do at least a minor in music. I definitely want to do that.
“I really like animals and nature,” she added. “I really liked bio class learning about cells and all these processes, and that kind of brings in the chemistry aspect, too.”
In her senior year, Weiss was accepted into the Her Medical Center PULSE program, which provides a seminar series with medical students and faculty to learn about infectious diseases.
“This year’s topic is infectious diseases, so I decided to do it because it sort of aligns with the science and medicine and just to see if I’d be interested in doing something like that,” she said.
Weiss has applied to multiple Ivy League schools and said she plans to attend graduate or medical school after earning her bachelor’s degree.