Stories of Seven Local Heroes Remembered Decades Later

World War II was an incredible series of crossroads in which U.S. military personnel were brought together in almost infinite circumstances around the globe. Circumstances would indeed bring seven men from McKean County together in the fact that they each lost their lives during the war — each of them in famous actions far, far away from home. It must be noted that the retelling of the following stories were made possible by Joel Gilfert of Portville, N.Y., formerly of Eldred, who has compiled an extensive website covering McKean County’s service personnel who died in the wars throughout...
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Erie Paratrooper, Now 92, a “True American Hero”

In the early morning hours of D-Day, June 6, 1944, Erie resident Joseph Morettini, a 19-year-old paratrooper with the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division, jumped from a Douglas C-47 Skytrain over France's Normandy coast. German anti-aircraft tracer fire filled the nighttime sky, and Morettini's first thoughts were that his life was about to end before he reached the ground. "When my parachute opened up, I thought I would be dead," said Morettini, a 92-year-old veteran who lives in the 1400 block of West 32nd Street in Erie. "I never saw so many tracers." Morettini landed about 16 miles i...
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World War II Museum to Hold Program on KA-BAR

At 2 p.m. Monday, May 29, Eldred World War II Museum board chairman Joseph Bradley will present a Memorial Day program on the involvement of KA-BAR in the war. Bradley is the sales and digital content manager at KA-BAR Knives, an Olean, N.Y.-based company that manufactured the iconic USMC Fighting/Utility Knife during World War II. Today, the KA-BAR continues to be a favored knife brand around the globe. Bradley is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University and Norwich University with a specialty in military history. In addition to World War II weaponry, his area of expertise includes the ...
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Made in America Comes to Eldred Museum

Visitors to the Eldred World War II Museum recently may have noticed a little more Americana than usual, at least in the museum’s store. The Made in America Store, headquartered in Elma, N.Y., has opened a “store in store” at the Eldred museum. Mark Andol, founder and chief executive officer of the Made in America Store, said he had visited the museum at the invitation of board member Evan Evans. Read more from The Bradford Era  
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Combat veteran: Smethport man Dille served during World War II, Korea

Smethport veteran Garvin Dille served in both World War II and the Korean War. A U.S. Navy veteran, Dille, 89, is one of the 65,704 American servicemen — government figures — to see active duty in both wars. Both times, Dille, a technical specialist, was assigned to repair ships, auxiliary vessels, staffed by capable crews of qualified repairmen and designed to provide maintenance support to warships that had suffered equipment failures or battle damage. Without his parents' immediate knowledge and against their objections, Dille still 16, quit Emlenton High School in 1944, while World W...
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WWII Museum Holds Inaugural Golf Benefit

The inaugural Eldred WWII Museum Golf Benefit was held July 9 at the Bolivar Golf and Country Club. Twenty-six teams competed in the four-person scramble with all proceeds benefiting the Eldred WWII Museum in Eldred. The tournament raised over $12,000 to benefit the museum, which will use the money to update infrastructure issues, as well as continue its programs for students and adults. Read more from The Bradford Era  
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Making History: Eldred World War II Museum Fundraiser Slated for Saturday

Officials at the Eldred World War II Museum hope a new fundraiser will make history. The first-ever Eldred World War II Museum Benefit Golf Tournament and Dinner will be held Saturday, July 9, 2016 at the Bolivar (N.Y.) Country Club. While no more golfers are needed, there are still ways to help the museum, which houses a vast collection of World War II memorabilia. Read more from The Bradford Era  
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Appleby Speaks at McKean-Cameron Bi-County Memorial Day Event

Steve Appleby, director of the World War II Museum in Eldred, spoke Sunday afternoon in the rain-shortened McKean-Cameron Bi-County American Legion's Memorial Day exercises on the steps of the McKean County Courthouse in Smethport. "We veterans know that Memorial Day is when we honor the deceased members of the armed forces from the nation's wars,” Appleby said. “Veterans Day is in November when we pay tribute to all veterans." Then turning his attention to the younger members of the audience, and especially the musicians in the Smethport Area High School Band, Appleby urged them to reme...
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Memorial Day Guest Speaker – Pastor Chris Edmonds

Come to the Museum on Monday, May 30 at 2:00 pm to hear our guest speaker, Pastor Chris Edmonds. Pastor Chris Edmonds is the son of Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds, a WWII hero who bravely and fearlessly saved the lives of countless Jewish soldiers in a prisoner of war camp in Germany. Pastor Chris Edmonds says his father was an ordinary man thrust into an extraordinary moment; a moment that deepened his faith in God and fixed his duty to comrades and country. Chris believes his father's life teaches us an ordinary life lived well is extraordinary... even heroic. Admission to the museum i...
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USO-Style Red, White and Blue Revue Show to Benefit Local Veterans

Veterans will be honored and assisted this Memorial Day weekend when local performers stage “Salute: A Red, White and Blue Revue” at 7:30 p.m. May 28 in the Olean High School auditorium. Proceeds from the show will benefit the Cattaraugus-Allegany Counties Joint Veterans’ Council Volunteer Van Service and the Olean Music Boosters. Producers Ardyth Van Scoy and Mike Tominez of M.F. Tominez Promotions LLC said the show was staged in May 2015 at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, Pa. The event was so well received by the community that it sold out. Read more from The Bradford Era...
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