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Citizens show support of servicemen, women during covenant signing

August 19, 2011

Members of the Brookville and surrounding communities gathered for a photo in the shape of a heart Thursday night outside Brookville Junior-Senior High School to show their support for the armed services during an Armed Forces Community Covenant Service in the high school auditorium. The event was hosted by the Brookville Volunteer Fire Company. (Photo by Natalie Bruzda/The Punxsutawney Spirit)

BROOKVILLE — Residents from Brookville and the surrounding communities gathered Thursday night to show their support for U.S. servicemen and women.

The Brookville Volunteer Fire Company hosted an Armed Forces Community Covenant Service in the Brookville Jr.-Sr. High School Auditorium.

Before the ceremony, members from the community stood together for a picture in the shape of a heart.

“As we approach the 10th year anniversary of the attack on the United States, and we’re engaged currently in a couple armed conflicts in war, we all get up every day and go to work and run our kids places, and it’s very easy to forget that there are alot of brave men and women in harm’s way,” BVFC President Tom Liebman said during his welcoming address. “And this event allows us to remember that.”

Brookville Fire Chief Jim Lipuma also gave some words of welcome and explained the purpose behind the covenant service.

“The program is designed by the Army to foster and sustain effective community partnership with the armed forces, to improve the quality of life for the soldiers and for their families,” he said. “It’s a formal commitment. A support by state and local communities. We, the members of the Brookville Volunteer Fire Company, felt the need for our community to formally demonstrate our support for the armed forces and their families during this time of war, as this is our nation’s longest conflict with an all-volunteer force.”

Nine people, who were chosen to represent the Brookville community, signed the covenant: Mayor David “Chip” Wonderling; borough council President John Blazosky; Chaplain Bob Bickerstaff; educator William Saxman; Chamber Director Melanie Darrin; Brandy Hergert, representing civic organizations; employer Becky Matson; Dicky Plyler, representing Brookville citizens; and Armed Services member Bradley Plucker.

“A commitment is a responsibility that you feel, and a covenant is the vow that you make,” said host Clarinda Darr.

The signed covenant reads: “Together, we are committed to building strong communities. We, the community of Brookville, Pa., recognize the commitment the service members and their families make every day. The strength of service members comes from the strength of their families. The strength of their families is supported by the support of the community.”

“That’s you,” Darr said.

In conjunction with the covenant service, the BVFC hosted an “America Remembers” 9/11 prose writing contest.

Linda Barnes was the adult winner, and Ashley Armagost was the young adult winner.

Barnes was not in attendance, so Katie Zents read aloud her entry, followed by Armagost.

State Rep. Sam Smith and Register/Recorder Diane Maihle Kiehl presented the prizes.

Also in attendance was Christine Naman, author of “Faces of Hope.”
Naman’s son was born on 9/11. She found out that about 10,000 other babies were born that day as well, and decided to publish her son’s photo, along with 49 other babies, representing all 50 states.

She wrote in her book, “A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.”

After the nine selected community members signed the covenant, Darr asked everyone else to sign as well.

In further support of the armed services, Lipuma asked the audience to show support for the traveling Vietnam War Memorial that will make its way through town Wednesday.

Around 4:45 p.m. that day, an estimated 1,000 motorcycles will escort the memorial through town.

“It’d be great if the people in town could line Main Street as they come through town,” he said. “I thank you in advance.”

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