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Students, veterans share monumental meet-up

A cornerstone marks Penn College's role in a collaboratively crafted community landmark.
A cornerstone marks Penn College’s role in a collaboratively crafted community landmark.

A Penn College construction class, continuing its involvement with a memorial project along West Fourth Street, was visited Thursday by a trio of appreciative submarine veterans. The mutually rewarding experience was recounted in a letter to Carol A. Lugg, dean of construction and design technologies, from Franklin D. Gillis, a Navy veteran and construction/building science instructional specialist at the college’s National Sustainable Structures Center.

Instructors Glenn R. Luse (left) and Harry W. Hintz Jr., were honored in the spring for their "dedication, expertise, leadership and commitment" to the project.
Instructors Glenn R. Luse (left) and Harry W. Hintz Jr., were honored in the spring for their “dedication, expertise, leadership and commitment” to the project.

Gillis had dinner this week with a group of veterans that included retired Rear Adm. Larry Marsh, in town from Virginia to attend the Little League Baseball World Series. Marsh visited the Lycoming County Veterans Memorial Park with fellow veterans Dan Reed and Bill Reasner, meeting instructor Harry W. Hintz Jr. and a group of students at the Wahoo Drive area job site.

The veterans had the opportunity to talk to the students and shake each of their hands, and Reasner observed that many of the students were emotionally touched by their discussion.

Students' work on a memorial wall and the placement of commemorative bricks is admired by attendees at a Memorial Day wreath-laying ceremony.
Students’ work on a memorial wall and the placement of commemorative bricks is admired by attendees at a Memorial Day wreath-laying ceremony.

“I can tell you it meant so much for the three of them to meet, first hand, the students putting so much work into a project that is so dear to their hearts,” wrote Gillis, who retired from naval service as a chief electronic technician, submarines.

“To me, this goes much further than the hands-on experience the students of Penn College enjoy so much. This exponentially strengthens the ties between the college, the community and our veterans, and that makes me so much prouder to be associated with the college.

“In the Navy, we say ‘Bravo Zulu’ to convey ‘Well done’ with regard to actions, operations or performance.” he added. “I know this is still a work in progress, but a ‘Bravo Zulu’ for everyone involved in the Memorial Park restoration is definitely in order.”

The park, which began as a submarine monument, is being expanded to honor all branches and conflicts.

Photos by Chet Beaver, coordinator of veteran and military services

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