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Local People

Adding two local veterans with a combined military experience of more the 40 years kickstarted the new year for All-American Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 914 Intrepid West Mifflin on January 25 at the Thompson Run Athletic Association.

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All-American Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 914 Intrepid Commander Jake Bradich stands with the unit’s newest members Larry J. Thorne, left, and Randall Naugher, right.  (Photo credit: Michael P. Mauer)

Randall Naugher, who served both with the United States Army and Air Force on active duty and reserves for more than two decades, and fellow Air Force veteran Larry J. Thorne, who tacked his own 20 years, were sworn in.  In addition to the required campaign and service decorations needed to join the VFW, the two inductees possess more than 40 years of combined military service.

“As an active post that strives to always do more for veterans and our community, new members are the wheels that keep us rolling forward,” said VFW Post 914 Commander Jake Bradich, an Army veteran of the Iraq war. “Every veteran here has demonstrated their commitment while in uniform, and is eager to add to that record once the time for active service has ended.”

Thorne’s military accomplishments include service in the Persian Gulf, in Bosnia and Kosovo, and in the Global War on Terrorism. Among his awards and decorations are both the Southwest Asia Service Medal and the Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon.

Fellow veteran Naugher also earned the Southwest Asia Service Medal for his service during Operation Desert Storm. He additionally received the Joint Meritorious Unit Award for his participation in Operation Southern Watch.

Before the induction ceremony, Post Surgeon General Bernie Zurawski discussed the year’s upcoming six hospital visits planned for Southwestern Veterans’ Center in Pittsburgh. Since being awarded its charter in 1991, VFW Post 914 has sponsored and conducted scores of bingos and pizza parties for sick and disabled veterans being treated at that facility.
“Helping these veterans is very rewarding,” said Zurawski, a Marine who served in Lebanon. “Everybody who participates feels that it is an honor to make their stay at the hospital more enjoyable.”
Additionally, Post Junior Vice Commander David Luikart presented a Buddy Poppy report, and handed out awards to those post members who helped raise more than $11,000 in annual donations. Luikart, a Marine and Vietnam veteran, said that all the monies raised through the Buddy Poppy program are used to directly support veterans and their family members.

“These pins and certificates are to remind you that you are the people who keep the good work this post does moving along,” added Luikart.

For more information about VFW Post 914 and its activities, visit the group’s website at: http://traa.weebly.com/vfw-post-914.html.

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