Veterans

Local Veteran Spotlights

Corporal Dan Gimiliano

Dan Gimiliano of Bethel Park served in WWII, and was drafted into the U.S. Army’s 26th Infantry Division as an Ammunitions Truck Driver. He fought in four major battles in France, Austria, and Czechoslovakia, including the Battle of the Bulge, earning a Bronze Star in each for driving his truck under enemy fire. After the war, he was discharged as a Corporal T5, then came home on the Queen Mary and had a successful 20+ year career as an engineer for Duquesne Slag. At 96 years old, he looks back fondly on his service.

Corporal Gimiliano, thank you for your service!

Sergeant Jessie Ferrari

Jessie Ferrari served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War era from August 1968 through May 1971. After her first assignment in the Records Office and the Office of Information in Washington, D.C., she volunteered for service in Southeast Asia. She was assigned to the 355th Combat Support Group with the 44th Tactical Fighter Squadron, and was in the first contingent of 30 Air Force women to arrive at Takhli Air Force Base, Thailand. She then served at Korat Air Force base, Thailand, and was honorably discharged at the rank of Sergeant E4. Among other recognitions, Jessie received the Air Force Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service and the WAF (Women in the Air Force) Top Cat Award while serving with the 44th Tactical Fighter Squadron.

Upon returning home, she used her GI benefits to attend the Community College of Allegheny County and obtain an Associate’s Degree in Science. She continued her public service over a 30+year career at the Social Security Administration. She is now retired and lives in Mt. Lebanon.

Sergeant Ferrari, thank you for your service!

Jessie with Rocky Bleier at the Vietnam War 50th Commemoration Pinning Ceremony in 2019 at the UPMC Events Center at Robert Morris University.

One of Jessie’s greatest memories of her military career was going to the White House in 1969 to see the Medal of Honor presentation by President Nixon to four Vietnam War Army veterans.

Sergeant Haya Eason

Haya Eason served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1981 to 1990. Working in administration, she was stationed in North Carolina, Okinawa, and South Carolina, attaining the rank of Sergeant E-5. Over the course of her career, her commendations included the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon and the Good Conduct Medal, among others. When asked about her service, Haya said “It was a great bridge to adult life for me. As I have aged, I see my military service as something that set me on a different course. I have learned something more about myself and the people and places around me everywhere I have lived since being honorably discharged. My parents, my faith and my military experience have taught me how to stand strong in the face of adversity and how to begin again.”

Upon exiting the service, Haya worked as a Service Officer at Bethel Park American Legion – Post 760. She continues her public service in her home community working in the administrative offices of the Municipality of Bethel Park.

Sergeant Eason, thank you for your service!

Staff Sergeant Mose McNeese

In 1965, Mose McNeese was a student at Southern Illinois University when he left to serve in the U.S. Air Force. He was stationed in Kadena, Okinawa as a Morse Code Operator, and was discharged in 1968 as a Staff Sergeant E-5. After his military service, Mose continued serving his community as a Teacher and a City Planner. He is now retired and living in Mt. Lebanon.

Staff Sergeant McNeese, thank you for your service!

Lt. Colonel Meng Tatel

Meng Tatel graduated from Mt. Lebanon High School in 1994, then attended the U.S. Air Force Academy, where she met her husband in the spring of their senior year. Over the course of her 21-year career in the Air Force and the Air Force Reserves, Meng was stationed at bases all around the United States and the United Kingdom, where she served as a KC-135 pilot, commander, and instructor pilot and an Air Mobility Command Operational Test Director, among many other assignments. Her commendations include two Air Force Meritorious Service Medals, two Air Force Commendation Medals, and three Air Medals. She just recently retired on October 1st at the rank of Lt. Colonel.

After 24 years serving her country, Meng and her family moved back to Mt. Lebanon, where they live two streets away from her childhood home. She currently works as a full-time mom to her three daughters.

Lt. Colonel Tatel, thank you for your service!

Airman First Class LaFayette Vance

LaFayette VanceLaFayette Vance joined the U.S. Air Force in 1961 and was assigned as an Air Policeman in Missouri and Greenland, which he said was “the best duty… it was like one long day!” He was discharged in 1965 at the rank of Airman First Class and partially used his GI benefits to obtain a degree in accounting from Missouri State College. He had a long career with the Federal Government, working at the U.S. General Accounting Office, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the U.S. Department of the Interior. Later, he attended Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary, earning Master of Biblical Studies and then Doctor of Religious Studies. He now lives in Moon Township.

Airman First Class Vance, thank you for your service!

2nd Class Engineman Francis Hynds

Francis Hynds joined the U.S. Coast Guard in 1951 and was primarily based in New York Harbor. He is a proud “Coastie,” calling it the “best service of all.” One memorable summer, he joined the U.S. Merchant Marines and sailed to Venezuela. He was discharged from the Coast Guard in 1956 at the rank of 2nd Class Engineman, after which he used the GI Bill to attend Clarkson University and graduated with a degree in Industrial Distribution. He went on to a career in industrial sales. He is now retired and lives in Mt. Lebanon.

2nd Class Engineman Hynds, thank you for your service!

In the News

Life after service: Veterans discuss challenges of leaving military

Life after service: Veterans discuss challenges of leaving military

Leaving active military service represents a seismic shift in life, even for those who have a head start. “My transition actually started about 16 years ago, right after the invasion of Iraq,” retired Army Lt. Col. Laurence Christian said. Lacie Scheidler and Maddy...

New state Senator takes leadership role in veterans’ affairs

New state Senator takes leadership role in veterans’ affairs

Talk about a transition.

“One day, I was a captain in the Navy,” said state Sen. Pam Iovino, D-Mt. Lebanon. “And five months later, I was preparing for a Senate confirmation hearing.”

During that short span, a chain of events in 2003-04 led her from wrapping up 23 years of active duty to the U.S. Senate, indeed, confirming her as the assistant secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs under President George W. Bush.

Video

Senator Iovino Military Family Month Remarks

 


Senator Iovino introduced a Senate resolution recognizing November as Military Families Month. Behind every soldier, sailor, airman, marine, and coast guardsman, active or reserve, are loved ones – spouses, children, parents, or siblings. These family members bear burdens that make it possible for our military’s men and women to serve.

Senator Iovino Introduces a Resolution Recognizing Veterans Day

 


Senator Iovino introduced a Senate resolution recognizing Veterans Day, a day when Americans acknowledge our shared responsibility to understand the sacrifice of veterans, and to appreciate how their service has made our nation safer and more prosperous.

Senator Iovino Remarks from the Veterans Suicide Roundtable Discussion

 

Senator Iovino participated in a roundtable discussion on the serious and tragic issue of veteran suicide. The event brought together federal, state, and local lawmakers, veteran service organizations, and foundations from our region for a conversation on prevention, intervention, and best practices to directly connect veterans with needed resources.

Senate Democratic Policy Committee Hearing on Improving Veterans Services

 


Senator Iovino convened a Senate Democratic Policy Committee meeting at the Steamfitters Local 449 to discuss ways to better coordinate and deliver services to the Commonwealth’s approximately 819,000 veterans. Senators heard from subject matter experts on five core subjects: the PA Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, PA Serves, and veteran women, veteran students, and veteran suicide.

Senator Pam Iovino Pets for Vets Program

 


Senator Iovino toured the Animal Friends shelter in Ohio Township. They’re a full-service companion animal welfare organization that operates the local Pets for Vets program, which matches rescue dogs & cats with veterans seeking companionship.

Press Releases

Legislation

Senate Resolution 170

A Resolution establishing a task force on services for veterans, including the coordination of services in this Commonwealth among Federal, State, local and nonprofit programs aimed at serving veterans, and directing the Joint State Government Commission to establish an advisory committee to the task force and conduct a comprehensive review and analysis of services for veterans.

Prime Sponsor: Senator IOVINO

Last Action: Amended and Adopted, Oct. 30, 2019 [Senate]

Senate Resolution 194

A Concurrent Resolution recognizing October 13, 2019, as the 244th birthday of the United States Navy.

Prime Sponsor: Senator IOVINO

Last Action: Referred to VETERANS AFFAIRS AND EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, Sept. 19, 2019 [Senate]

House Bill 1324

An Act amending Title 51 (Military Affairs) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in military educational programs, further providing for definitions, for eligibility, for grants, for amount of grants, for limitations, for recoupment of grant payments, for regulations, for administration and for Educational Assistance Program Fund and providing for a military family education program; and making editorial changes.

Prime Sponsor: Representative BARRAR

Last Action: Act No. 32

Senate Bill 772

An Act designating the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a Purple Heart State and August 7 as “Purple Heart Day” in Pennsylvania.

Prime Sponsor: Senator BROWNE

Last Action: Referred to VETERANS AFFAIRS AND EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, June 17, 2019 [Senate]

Senate Resolution 140

A Resolution urging the Congress of the United States to ensure the United States Department of Veterans Affairs sufficiently implements the letter and spirit of the VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks (MISSION) Act of 2018 and provide veterans in this Commonwealth with the care they have earned for their military service.

Prime Sponsor: Senator DiSANTO

Last Action: Transmitted as directed, July 25, 2019 [Senate]

Senate Bill 589

An Act amending Title 51 (Military Affairs) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in military educational programs, further providing for definitions, for eligibility, for grants, for amount of grants, for limitations, for recoupment of grant payments, for regulations, for administration and for Educational Assistance Program Fund and providing for a military family education program; and making editorial changes.

Prime Sponsor: Senator REGAN

Last Action: Laid on the table, Oct. 23, 2019 [House]

House Resolution 558

A Resolution designating the month of November 2019 as “Veteran Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania in conjunction with the annual “Veterans Day” observance on November 11, 2019.

Prime Sponsor: Representative SCHLEGEL CULVER

Last Action: Reported as committed, Oct. 29, 2019 [House]

House Resolution 590

A Resolution commemorating December 7, 2019, as “Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.”

Prime Sponsor: Representative READSHAW

Last Action: Referred to VETERANS AFFAIRS AND EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, Oct. 23, 2019 [House]

House Resolution 554

A Resolution honoring the continuing work of the Veterans Courts in this Commonwealth.

Prime Sponsor: A Resolution honoring the continuing work of the Veterans Courts in this Commonwealth.

Last Action: Referred to VETERANS AFFAIRS AND EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, Oct. 11, 2019 [House]

Senate Resolution 267

A Resolution recognizing November 11, 2019, as “Veterans Day” in Pennsylvania.

Prime Sponsor: Senator IOVINO

Last Action: Introduced and adopted, Oct. 29, 2019 [Senate]

Senate Bill 849

An Act amending Title 75 (Vehicles) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in registration of vehicles, providing for special plates for recipients of Navy and Marine Corps Medal.

Prime Sponsor: Senator IOVINO

Last Action: Referred to TRANSPORTATION, Sept. 18, 2019 [Senate]

House Resolution 53

A Concurrent Resolution urging the President and Congress of the United States to take immediate action to preserve the underwater graves of servicepersons who died defending this nation.

Prime Sponsor: Representative GILLEN

Last Action: Referred to VETERANS AFFAIRS AND EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, Feb. 1, 2019 [Senate]

Senate Bill 757

An Act amending Title 51 (Military Affairs) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in veterans’ pensions and benefits, further providing for amputee and paralyzed veteran’s pension.

Prime Sponsor: Senator YUDICHAK

Last Action: Referred to VETERANS AFFAIRS AND EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, June 12, 2019 [Senate]

House Bill 233

An Act amending the act of July 28, 1953 (P.L.723, No.230), known as the Second Class County Code, in special powers and duties of the county, further providing for flags to decorate graves.

Prime Sponsor: Representative O’NEAL

Last Action: Re-reported as committed, Sept. 23, 2019 [Senate]

Senate Bill 298

An Act amending Titles 18 (Crimes and Offenses) and 51 (Military Affairs) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in proprietary and official rights, further providing for the offense of wearing of uniforms and insignia and misrepresentation of military service or honors; and, in State Veterans’ Commission and Deputy Adjutant General for Veterans’ Affairs, further providing for Veterans’ Trust Fund.

Prime Sponsor: Senator BAKER

Last Action: Act No. 62

House Resolution 552

A Resolution honoring the 244th birthday of the United States Marine Corps on November 10, 2019.

Prime Sponsor: Representative READSHAW

Last Action: Reported as committed, Oct. 29, 2019 [House]

House Bill 1933

An Act establishing the Veterans’ Housing Assistance Program; and making appropriations.

Prime Sponsor: Representative HILL-EVANS

Last Action: Referred to VETERANS AFFAIRS AND EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, Oct. 15, 2019 [House]

House Bill 1898

An Act amending Title 51 (Military Affairs) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in disabled veterans’ real estate tax exemption, further providing for duty of commission by removing a rebuttable presumption.

Prime Sponsor: Representative LAWRENCE

Last Action: Referred to VETERANS AFFAIRS AND EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, Sept. 30, 2019 [House]

House Resolution 397

A Resolution recognizing the Pennsylvania American Legion Auxiliary Keystone Girls State program being held during the week of June 16, 2019.

Prime Sponsor: Representative KLUNK

Last Action: Referred to VETERANS AFFAIRS AND EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, Sept. 23, 2019 [House]

Senate Resolution 271

Title: A Resolution recognizing the month of November 2019 as “Military Family Month” in Pennsylvania.

Prime Sponsor: Senator IOVINO

Last Action: Introduced and adopted, Oct. 30, 2019 [Senate]

House Resolution 470

A Concurrent Resolution recognizing October 13, 2019, as the 244th birthday of the United States Navy.

Prime Sponsor: Representative MIHALEK

Last Action: Adopted, Sept. 25, 2019 (49-0) [Senate]

House Bill 1609

An Act amending Title 75 (Vehicles) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in registration of vehicles, further providing for contributions to Veterans’ Trust Fund.

Prime Sponsor: Representative O’MARA

Last Action: Representative O’MARA

Senate Resolution 169

A Resolution designating the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a Purple Heart State and recognizing August 7th as “Purple Heart Day” in Pennsylvania.

Prime Sponsor: Senator BROWNE

Last Action: Adopted, June 25, 2019 [Senate]

House Bill 807

An Act amending Title 51 (Military Affairs) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in Pennsylvania National Guard, further providing for compensation of division commander or equivalent; and making a related repeal.

Prime Sponsor: Representative RYAN

Last Action: Act No. 55

Senate Bill 128

An Act amending Titles 51 (Military Affairs) and 74 (Transportation) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in Department of Military Affairs, providing for Civil Air Patrol; and, in authority of Department of Transportation, further providing for authority of department.

Prime Sponsor: Senator REGAN

Last Action: Act No. 60

House Resolution 522

A Resolution designating the month of October 2019 as “Agent Orange Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania.

Prime Sponsor: Representative MATZIE

Last Action: Representative MATZIE

House Resolution 555

A Resolution urging the Congress of the United States to pass House Res. 1773, which would award the Congressional Gold Medal collectively to the women who joined the “Rosie the Riveter” campaign during World War II.

Prime Sponsor: Representative SHUSTERMAN

Last Action: Referred to VETERANS AFFAIRS AND EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, Oct. 11, 2019 [House]

House Resolution 411

: A Resolution designating June 27, 2019, as “Post-Traumatic Stress Injury Awareness Day” and the month of June 2019 as “Post-Traumatic Stress Injury Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania.

Prime Sponsor: Representative BARRAR

Last Action: Referred to VETERANS AFFAIRS AND EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, Sept. 23, 2019 [House]

House Resolution 409

A Resolution designating June 15, 2019, as “LRRP of Company I (Ranger) 75th Infantry Division Day” in Pennsylvania.

Prime Sponsor: Representative DiGIROLAMO

Last Action: Referred to VETERANS AFFAIRS AND EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, Sept. 23, 2019 [House]