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By Michael P. Mauer

Recognition for marching 14 miles for donations was the order of the day as West Mifflin Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 914 Intrepid Commander Jake Bradich and Junior Vice Commander David Luikart were presented certificates April 27 at the Thompson Run Athletic Association from the West Mifflin Area Senior High School Air Force JROTC.

Cadets Receive Certificates

The two were honored for completing a Bataan March organized by the cadets that was held at the Waterfront Bike Trail in Homestead April 1.

Bradich, an Army Iraq war veteran, and Luikart, a Marine who served in Vietnam, both completed the measured course along with several other high school cadets to help earn $500 in pledges. All of the money raised by the event was donated to VFW Post 914.

“It was pretty much like another day at work for me,” said Bradich, who works as a mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service. “The folks who really made the effort were the ones who donated and the cadets who took the time to help veterans.”
Luikart added the money raised by the cadets will be well spent.

“We allocate a big portion of our budget to our hospital visitation program.” said Luikart, who also directs the VFW post’s main fund-raising efforts as the unit’s Buddy Poppy Chairman. “The extra money the students have raised for us means making things better for the veterans we serve.”

Organized by VFW 914 Post Surgeon and Marine veteran Bernie Zurawski, the hospital visitation program is actively staffed by seven to a dozen of the unit’s membership – plus at times a few others.

“Around Christmas time, the number gets larger,” said Zurawski, who served in Lebanon and the Middle East. “Some JROTC students from the school usually help out then. Everybody involved wants to make certain those veterans who have difficulty spending time with their families because of illness have the best holiday that they can.”

Over the last decade, VFW Post 914 has raised nearly $100,000 through Buddy Poppy sales, fund raising and donations. Since receiving its VFW charter in 1991, VFW Post 914 has never operated a club or accepted social members. All the money it has received has been used for community programs and to support veterans.

For more information about VFW Post 914 and its activities, contact Commander Bradich at: 412-464-9838.

In the photo above right:  Veterans of Foreign Wars West Mifflin Post 914 Intrepid Commander Jake Bradich, left, West Mifflin High School Air Force JROTC Cadet Master Sgt. Joe Popa, Air Force JROTC Senior Aerospace Science Instructor and VFW Post 914 Life Member Major Scott Harbula, and post Junior Vice Commander David Luikart proudly show the certificates received April 27 at the Thompson Run Athletic Association from the Air Force JROTC cadets. Photo credit: Michael P. Mauer


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