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Two Memorial services planned in Coaldale

  • Rev. William H. Edwards
    Rev. William H. Edwards
Published May 27. 2010 05:00PM

Coaldale Borough will commemorate its fallen soldiers with ceremonies at 1 p.m. Sunday in the Seek section of town and at 2:30 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial Garden next to borough hall on Third Street.

The solemn day of remembrance will begin with a special 9 a.m. service at First Congregational Church. The Rev. William H. Edwards, SSGT, U.S. Army Vietnam, will deliver the sermon.

Sponsored by the Coaldale United Veterans Organizations, the program will feature opening remarks by Bill Gaddes, USAF Korea. The invocation will be offered by the Rev. Daniel Matthewson of St. Mary's Orthodox Church, Coaldale.

Panther Valley High School student Virginia Rivera will speak on "Our World War II Heritage," and Lincoln's Gettysburg Address will be recited by Cassandra Hoben, a 7th grade student at Our Lady of the Angels Academy.

Mayor Richard Corkery will offer remarks, and the Panther Valley High School band, under the direction of Mark Christ, will perform patriotic selections.

Panther Valley High School student Stephany Mills will recite "In Flanders Field," and Brittany Erbe will sing a patriotic song.

Ken Markovich, Major U.S. Army, Ret., and Edwards will offer the keynote speeches; Markovich at Seek and Edwards at the Memorial Garden.

Edwards graduated from Coaldale High School in 1963. He received theological training at Philadelphia College of Bible (now Philadelphia Biblical University) and spent 30 years in Christian ministry. He received clinical training in sports medicine, post rehab, massage therapy, and sports training specialties from Penn State University, Essex College, University of Pittsburgh, Mt. Nittany Institute of Natural Health, and the American Academy of Health and Fitness Professionals. Edwards is a former teacher, head football coach and Director of Admissions at Riverdale Baptist School in Largo, Maryland, where he won an outstanding teacher award from St. Mary's College. He is the founder of the Bedford County Youth Achievement Association and the Summit Quest All-Star Classic. A former Army paratrooper and decorated Vietnam veteran, Edwards served as a long range recon team leader attached to the 101st. Airborne Division. He currently serves as strength/conditioning coach and athletic trainer for Penn State DuBois. Edwards lives with his wife, Pixie, and 5-year old daughter Mia, and continues to consult on issues of sports training and nutrition.

Markovich is a 1984 graduate of Panther Valley High School and former JROTC Panther Battalion Commander. He joined the Pennsylvania National Guard as a high school senior, spent the next 24 years moving up the ranks, retiring in 2008.

He graduated from Kutztown University in 1991 with a degree in telecommunications. While at the college, Markovich participated in its senior ROTC program and was commissioned as a second lieutenant.

he is a graduate of Infantry basic training, Armor Officer Basic school, Infantry Mortar Leader Course, Infantry Captains Career Course and Scout Platoon Leader Course and has the Airborne qualification badge.

Markovich's jobs included infantry and mortar platoon leaders, tank company commander, Battalion S-3 and Brigade Assistant S-3. he finished his career as the 55th brigade Public affairs officer.

In 2002, he was deployed to Germany for Operation Enduring Freedom. Major Markovich lives in the Pottsville area with his wife, Lisa, and their children Angelo, 10, Madison, 4, Mackenzie, 2 and Cole, 1.

The programs will be rounded out with Edwards singing a song he wrote about military nurses, "She Still Cries."

Nick Paraschak, USAF Ret., will read the roll of deceased veterans and the Panther Valley JROTC unit will perform a rifle salute of the honored dead.

Robert Kistler of Bugles Across America will play Taps, and Rev. Matthewson will offer the final blessing.

Brochures for the program are being donated by John Yurchak; Mark Blasko will provide the sound system.

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