Joseph S. Balogach Jr. of Lehighton was named "Marine of the Year" Award during the 2010 birthday ball of the Schuylkill Carbon Marine Corps League Detachment 626 held Saturday.
Balogach was presented with a plaque by Detachment Commandant Tom Fenon.
Nearly 50 people attended the ball, celebrating the 235th anniversary of the U.S. Marine Corps, at Costello's Restaurant in Coaldale.
Also honored at the event was the TIMES NEWS for its pubicizing of Marine Corp League events.
Plaques were presented to Editor Robert Urban and reporter Ron Gower.
Urban told the Marines, "We're the ones who are really honored to be able to publish such a worthwhile event," referring to the annual Toys for Tots campaign that the League conducts. Dinner favors included Toys for Tots refrigerator magnets, pencils, and window stickers, serving as a reminder that the annual collection of toys to be distributed to needy children is underway.
Balogach was accompanied to the ball by his wife, Barbara.
After serving in the Marines, he got out as an E-4 Corporal.
Fenon noted that Balogach assists at funerals, on rifle details and during many other events.
He also was responsible for securing a building for Toys for Tots storage.
Besides being named "Marine of the Year," he also was presented with a Community Service Award.
Also given special recognition, but unable to attend because of ill health, was Karen Nunnemacher of Lehighton.
Her husband, Harry, accepted several awards on her behalf, including a Community Service Award. It was noted that the Nunnemachers have been loyal to the Marine Corps League, and that Karen had been one of the individuals who helped start an auxiliary unit.
Numerous other individuals were given awards for community service. They include:
Ÿ James and Cheryl Laub of Tamaqua, for their contributions throughout the years to the Marine Corps League. Cheryl was one of the main coordinators of this year's ball.
Ÿ Joseph Sweeney of Summit Hill.
Ÿ Brian Snyder.
Ÿ Pastor Bob Johnson of Salem Bible Fellowship Church, Lehighton, who allows his facilities to be used for the Toys for Tots distribution in Carbon County.
Ÿ Jack Daderko of Coaldale.
Ÿ Edward Glassic Sr. of Jim Thorpe.
Ÿ Jim Koch of Jim Thorpe.
Ÿ Ted Bienkowski of Summit Hill.
The first pieces of the birthday cake for the anniversary of the Marine Corps were cut with a saber by Fenon. In tradition, the first pieces were given to honored guests Urban and Gower. The next pieces were given by the oldest Marine present, Constance McHugh of Lehighton, and the youngest Marine, Michael Frey of Nesquehoning.
Two poems were read, "It Is A Soldier" and "A Soldier Died Today."
Fenon pointed out an empty table with one chair that exists at every such banquet. It is for soldiers who are missing in action or prisoners of war.
He also explained the decor on the table, noting that the tablecloth is white for purity, a solid red rose to remind us of the life of each of the missing as well as the love held by their family members, a slice of lemon to remind us of their bitter fate, salt representing tears, and a single chair to show they are still missing.
The invocation and benediction were by Pastor Johnson.