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Lehighton foundation honors 5 ‘Graduates of Distinction’

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    Hugh Dugan, right, president of the Lehighton Education and Athletic Foundation, introduces this year’s Graduates of Distinction. They are, from left, Carbon County Judge Steven R. Serfass, Carl Ginder (accepting on behalf of his uncle, the late Lewis Ginder), Steve Middlecamp (accepting on behalf of Lt. John E. Hughes Jr.), Dave Rehrig (accepting on behalf of his brother, the late William Rehrig), and Larry Markley (accepting on behalf of Col. Harold Buhl). RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS

Published June 18. 2018 01:17PM

The Lehighton Education and Athletic Foundation held its third annual “Graduates of Distinction” dinner Saturday in the Mahoning Valley Country Club.

Every year the foundation selects Lehighton High School alumni who have achieved postgraduate success.

The five honorees were:

• Col. Harold Buhl Jr., who was nominated by a classmate, Dr. Michael Everett.

Buhl Jr., who graduated in 1983, is currently the program manager for the Army Research Laboratory at the Orlando Simulation and Training Technology Center. He also serves as the deputy director, human research and engineering directorate and program manager of the Army’s Institute for Creative Technologies at the University of Southern California.

Buhl is married to his college sweetheart, the former Patricia Lee for 30 years. They are the parents of two children, a daughter who is attending the University of Central Florida and a son in junior high school.

He was unable to attend so his award was accepted on his behalf by Larry Markley.

• The late Lewis Ginder, who was nominated by Gordon P. Ripkey, a friend and co-educator.

Ginder began his teaching career at Edison Junior High School in Harrisburg. In 1928, Ginder returned to Lehighton, where he remained for the next 41 years. He served as Lehighton’s first playground director in the 1920s and for 25 years he played Santa Claus for the needy children of Lehighton.

Ginder and his wife, Marian Oding, were the parents of one son, Lewis, who is currently a special-education teacher in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

• The late William Rehrig, who was nominated by classmate Thomas Mullen.

Rehrig was represented by his brother, Dave Rehrig.

Rehrig, of Franklin, Tennessee, died suddenly on July 17, 2014, at the age of 75. A 1956 graduate of Lehighton High School, Rehrig was taught music as a toddler by his father and could play the button accordion by age 6.

He was married to Elaine Babinchak Rehrig (deceased) and Holly Rehrig (widow). He is the father of three children, Lisa, Roslyn and Ross.

• The Honorable Steven R. Serfass, nominated by his wife Jenny Serfass.

Serfass is currently serving as an elected judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Carbon County.

Born and raised in Carbon County, Serfass chose to come back home to begin his career. He started his practice of law at the Martin Phillips office in Palmerton.

He and his wife then opened a family practice of Serfass and Cheng until his election as judge in 2009.

He and his wife are the parents of two children, Benjamin, 17, and Hannah, 13.

• Lt. John E. Hughes Jr., nominated by his son, John Hughes.

Following his graduation from Penn State in 1949, Hughes entered the United States Air Force where he served for six years. During that time he was a combat fighter pilot with 30 missions over North Korea. He flew the F-86 saber as wing man to Buzz Aldrin, the second man to land on the moon.

He is married to his college sweetheart, Marion Attinger, and they are the parents of three sons.

A plaque was also presented to Major General Jay Barry, who was named a Graduate of Distinction last year but was unable to attend because of illness.

Hugh Dugan, president of the Lehighton Education and Athletic Foundation, was in charge of the program.

He introduced the selection committee members: William Michalik, Steve Ohl, Gary Schoenberger, Bruce Hartman MD, Terry Long, Thomas Schaeffer and Todd Kriner.

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