Dunmorean of the Month: Rachel Walsh

rachel walshBy Steve Svetovich

Rachel Walsh was near perfect on the mound all season.

Daughter of Kevin and Michele Walsh, she seems to have a bright future on the softball diamond.

With her dad Kevin Walsh coaching the team, Rachel, 10, led the Dunmore 10 and Under Miss E League team to the Valley Junior Petunia League title with four magnificent pitching performances.

And that earned her tournament MVP honors.

Not that it was a surprise. After all, Rachel has a 21-3 pitching record (regular season and playoffs), over 100 strikeouts and miniscule 0.12 ERA.

She has been playing Miss E League softball for four years.

Representing Nina’s Pizza, Dunmore, Rachel pitched four games, winning three of them, in the tournament. She pitched a 3-hitter, no-hitter, 1-hitter and no-hitter. She lost the 1-hitter, 1-0, to a pitcher who fired a no-hitter for Dickson City’s Total Collision.

She then came back and pitched a no-hitter for Nina’s to defeat Total Collision, 2-1, in the championship.

Rachel struck out 9 in just four innings in the first game of the tournament. She followed that up with 12, 10 and 14 strikeouts in the next three games.

There are 13 players on the title team. Two of those players, Aubrey Mizenko and Ava Walsh (Rachel’s little sister) were call ups.

The other 11 members of the team besides Rachel are Amelia Ortiz, Natalie Mecca, Sydney Harding, Mia Irving, Sadie Ondek, Ella Brier, Jaclyn Brown, Maddie Pierce, Bethany Masurak and Amanda Dempsey.

“This is just a great group of girls,” said coach Kevin Walsh. “All of the girls put their time in and are very dedicated to the sport. The girls are eager to learn. I could not ask for a better group.”

team photo copy

Members of the Nina’s Pizza team in Dunmore include, front row, from left: Amanda Dempsey, Sydney Harding, Ella Brier, Sadie Ondek and Maddie Pierce. Second row, same order: Natalie Mecca, Amelia Ortiz, Rachel Walsh, Jaclyn Brown and Mia Irving. Back row, Coaches Nick Mecca, Kevin Walsh and Pat Irving. Not pictured are Bethany Mazurak, Ava Walsh and Aubrey Mizenko.

Nina’s Pizza, 14-2 during the regular season, also won the Icebreaker Tournament, with Rachel pitching in those games.

The Valley Junior Petunia League has 32 teams, so winning the tournament is very impressive. There is a lot of competition.

Many of the girls on the 10 and Under Nina’s Pizza team have been playing together for the past four years.

“These girls have a lot of dedication to each other,” said coach Walsh. “They have a tremendous work ethic and team unity.

“It was a total team effort with different kids contributing at different times to help win a game.

“The most important thing is that the kids are enjoying it.”

Rachel, also an excellent student, is going into the fifth grade. Coach Walsh is assisted by Nick Mecca and Pat Irving.

Rachel’s younger sister Ava, only 6, already is showing signs of being an outstanding player. She also contributed to the championship.

Rachel loves the game and is looking forward to many years ahead playing softball. Remember the name. In the meantime, Rachel is just having a lot of fun.

“We’re proud of her,” said coach Walsh. “We are proud of all the girls on the team.”


Dunmorean of the Month: In Memory of Donald Michael Nemeth

Nemeth in uniformBy Steve Svetovich

The late Donald Michael Nemeth, Dunmore, is among 30 Pennsylvania war veterans being inducted into a Memory Program for Vietnam soldiers.

Nemeth, who went to Vietnam twice and earned the Purple Heart and Bronze Star, died August 14, 2011. He was only 62 and died due to lymphoma of the central nervous system. He contacted Agent Orange in the war and this led to further complications, resulting eventually in the lymphoma.

His daughter Nicole Reisinger, Kingston, said the Memory Program honors Vietnam veterans who died from causes due to the war. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund sponsors this program, she said, for the veterans who died from such causes related to the war.

Nemeth lived in Dunmore most of his life and graduated from Dunmore High School. Nemeth was born March 30, 1949, in Newark, N.J., and as a young boy, moved to Dunmore–the place he called home–with his mother, Marcella. While attending Dunmore High School, Donald participated in track and field, shotput, and varsity football. He also won the Junior Olympics for weightlifting, where he earned the nickname “Zeus.”

After graduated from DHS in 1967, he enlisted in the Army and did two tours in Vietnam as an infantryman and then as a platoon sergeant. He spent a total of 22 years in the service, earning the rank of first master sergeant. His military career took him to Korea, Germany, California, Washington State and Fort Dix, as well as Vietnam, and he was the first senior instructor of ROTC for Penn State Hazleton. After retiring from the Army, he worked various odd jobs and for the United States Postal Service.

Dunmorean of the Month - Don NemethAfter returning from his final tour of duty in Vietnam, Don, as he was known, met and eloped with Lucille Valentini, with whom he had two children, Nicole and Aaron,  and three grandchildren. The couple celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary together.

Don was known to have a caring heart, and he adored his family, friends, animals, and hiking with his best friend Ed. He liked planting tomatoes, picking apples, pears, raspberries and blueberries–all from his homegrown trees and shrubs.

He loved laughing to the antics of The Three Stooges, watching Western movies, and cheering for the Philadelphia Phillies and Penn State football.

The ceremony will be held Saturday, June 16, at the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C. Nemeth’s wife, daughter, grandson and granddaughter will attend the prestigious event and ceremony which will honor 345 Vietnam veterans, including the 30 from Pennsylvania. More than 2,000 attendees will attend the In Memory ceremony, during which each of the 2018 honorees will have their name read aloud. Master of ceremonies will be Captain Denis Faherty, USN (Ret).

“For many Vietnam veterans, coming home from Vietnam was just the beginning of a whole new fight,” says Jim Knotts, president and CEO of Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF). “Many never fully recovered, either physically or emotionally, from their experiences. As these veterans pass, it is our duty and solemn promise to welcome them home to the place that our nation has set aside to remember our Vietnam veterans.”

The plaque that honores these veterans was dedicated as a part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial site in 2004. It reads: “In Memory of the men and women who served in the Vietnam War and later died as a result of their service. We honor and remember their sacrifice.”

In Memory began in 1999 and has since honored more than 3,200 veterans. The In Memory Honor Roll has a remembrance page for each veteran and can be seen online at http://www.vvmf.org/honor-roll.

“We found out about the Memory Program when we saw the ‘Wall that Heals’ in Swoyersville,” said his daughter. “We sent his biography and he was selected into the Memory Program. It is a sad thing, considering all the veterans who died due to the war. But at the same time it is an honor.

“My dad died from causes related to Agent Orange exposure contacted in Vietnam. It led to lymphoma of the central nervous system. He was in Vietnam twice.

“It feels sad because of all the men and women who died from being exposed to this. They were fighting for our country.

“My dad never talked about the war. He never mentioned even being there. And he spent 22 years in the service. He never talked anything related to the war. When we were older we heard only small bits and pieces from him. He may have mentioned it a little.”

Nemeth was proud of his Dunmore roots and grew up on Throop Street. After spending 22 years in the service, he retired in 1988. Not one to sit, he worked at various jobs until his passing.

“My dad used to say you have to leave work at work and when you are home you are home,” his daughter Nicole said. “He just wouldn’t talk about what he was doing or what he did in the service.

“He traveled from place to place with the military, but my mom stayed at home with us. My dad was a very quiet man. He was athletic. He received a lot of medals from the war, but never talked about that either.

“After he died, we found a bunch of clippings about him in newspapers he saved. We learned more about him by reading the news clippings. We learned on our own.

“When my dad was alive we went to the ‘ Wall that Heals’ at Nay Aug Park. Immediately, he saw a name on the Wall that he knew. It was an eerie feeling and that was it. He never talked about it.

“My dad was quiet and humble. He never boasted about himself.

“The ceremony will be nice with 345 honored this year. They do it every year, so a lot of Vietnam veterans have been honored. It will be an honor to be there for my dad.”

Vietnam medals and awards earned by Nemeth included: Bronze star, Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with silver star attachment, Republic of Vietnam campaign medal, Combat Infantryman badge, and Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with palm unit citation.

Career medals and awards earned are these,  in order highest to lowest: Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster; Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Army Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster, Good Conduct Medal with silver clasp one loop (six awards for good conduct); National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with one silver star (silver star attachment for multiple campaigns); NCO Professional Development Ribbon with Numeral 4; Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon with Numeral 2; Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, and Korea Defense Service Medal.

These are awards he earned during his service: Combat Infantryman Badge, Sharpshooter Badge with Auto Rifle bar and Grenade Bar; Drill Sergeant ID Badge, and Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm unit citation.


Dunmorean of the Month: Carolyn Colo

Carolyn Colo one_1516515624548.jpg_32237133_ver1.0_640_360

Photo Courtesy: PAHomePage.com; goo.gl/WJtfeX

By Steve Svetovich

Wit, a pleasant demeanor, being nice to others and faith in God are the keys to a long life for Dunmore’s Carolyn Colo who turned 100 this past January 18.

The lifelong Dunmore resident was living independently in her Dunmore apartment on Electric Street until she was admitted to Mountain View Care Center this past November just two months before her 100th birthday.

She still has her wit, love of life and ambulates with her walker, attending all of the activities in the Mountain View Care Center, Moosic.

A party with family and friends, celebrating her 100th birthday, was held this past January 20 at Marzoni’s Restaurant, Moosic.

The highlight of the event came when Dunmore Mayor Tim Burke presented her with a proclamation for turning 100. Lackawanna County Commissioner Patrick O’Malley presented her with a nice plaque/proclamation stating: “Carolyn Colo Day.”

She appeared recently on a WBRE-TV story regarding turning 100.

Carolyn previously appeared on WBRE TV-28 when she turned 90 and 94 for stories on old vs. newbie drivers.

Still sharp, she was driving through the age of 97.

She took part in the WVIA TV documentary series “Our Town” in which citizens tell stories about their town. WBRE-TV photographer Tony Ingargiola, Dunmore, taped Carolyn a few years ago telling old stories about Dunmore as part of the documentary.

Daughter of the late Frank and Florence Colo, Carolyn graduated from Dunmore High School in 1935. The high school, since burned down, was located on Apple Street, Dunmore.

Roberta Clemens, Dunmore, her niece, a singer and percussionist for the Dales Jukebox Band, was interviewed about her aunt just before a gig. She performs with a father and son team, Dale and Dale Ambosie.

“My aunt is still very much with it,” she said. “She is very kind and considerate. She is very witty, almost flirtatious.”

Carolyn was always very active. She loved playing cards, spending two nights a week with her group playing pinochle.

She continues to enjoy all of the activities at a Mountain View Care Center. She ambulates with her walker attending music, bingo, horse racing games and crossword puzzle groups.

Carolyn married Philip Colo in 1949. Her husband was a government employee for the liquor control board. He died 20 years ago.

Carolyn attended classes at International Correspondence School (ICS) where she earned a certificate as a math instructor. She worked diligently as a math instructor at ICS from 1943 to 1985. A dedicated employee, she retired at 67.

She never smoked and rarely drank other than a glass of wine on a holiday.

Carolyn planned all of her Dunmore High School class reunions until she was 95 when her class size dwindled due to deaths. The reunions were held every year.

She often spoke of her long and loving relationship with her late husband.

But always with a quick wit, she once kidded that her secret to a long life was “not having to take care of a man for all those years.”

Then she turned serious. “My secret to a long life is being nice to people and my faith in God.”

She and her late husband did not have any children, but she remains dedicated to her nine nieces and is close to the Ingargiola family of Dunmore.

She grew up on Monroe Avenue in Dunmore and later moved near Saint Anthony’s Park. Carolyn never left the town she truly loved.

Her niece relishes her aunt’s quips and quick wit. “She remains very sharp and witty to this day. She still is a lot of fun. She has a love of people and life.”

Dunmoreans of the Month: Theo and Greg Zayac

Dunmoreans of monthBy Steve Svetovich

Theo and Greg Zayac are Dunmoreans who are truly out to save the world, or at least the tiniest part of it in the form of young infants.

Their ambition is fueled by a cruel tragedy — the death of their healthy three-month-old infant son Jude on July 23, 2014, as a result of S.I.D.S (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

While other parents might be destroyed by such a loss, the grieving young couple instead vowed to make sense out of the tragedy and to make a positive impact in the name of Jude.

When friends set up a Go Fund Me account in the days following Jude’s death, both Theo and Greg knew they did not want to use the money for themselves, but that they wanted to start a foundation in their son’s name. They spent the next six months learning about S.I.D.S and about which hospitals were in the forefront of research. They were saddened to discover that S.I.D.S. is the leading cause of  death in children under one year of age, amounting to approximately 4,000 deaths each year.

Known as the silent killer, since victims pass away in their sleep, S.I.D.S. strikes without notice. Not much is known about its causes, although a study at Boston Children’s Hospital in 2010 concluded that there may be a link between brainstem abnormalities and serotonin deficiencies and S.I.D.S.

“More studies like this need to be conducted to develop this theory and to find a way to detect S.I.D.S. before it kills more healthy babies, like our sweet Jude,” Theo says.

Greg and Theo  believe that Boston Children’s Hospital is the premiere research center for S.I.D.S., making the biggest breakthroughs to help understand and prevent the syndrome, and they decided to raise fund for that research..

Dunmorean of the Month - Jog-for-Jude-2016-52-of-268-768x512“This became a huge part of our coping process, especially for my husband,” explains Theo. “We found that we could put our energy into raising monies to find the causes of S.I.D.S and help other parents avoid a devastating loss like ours. It was a positive way to focus our energy and emotions It has become our mission.”

After doing the research and establishing the Jude Zayac Foundation, the couple settled on the idea of sponsoring a “Jog for Jude”. This simple idea has grown into an event that draws thousands from the community and far beyond to raise both funds and awareness for SIDS research. This year’s fourth annual event will be held on Sunday, April 22, at Dunmore Community Center, 1414 Monroe Ave., Dunmore.

Although the race is the signature event, the family pursues awareness events and fund-raising all year round, including the Blue and Pink Day held in March.

It is very much a family affair, spearheaded by Theo and Greg, with the wholehearted support of their parents, John and Florence Lawless and Ted and Kim Zayac, all of Dunmore. Even their older son, Gregory, now age 7, became involved from the beginning, as have the latest additions to the Zayac’s family–Matilda, 2, and Gus, 9 months.

Dunmorean of the Month - Jude ZayacAlso on board from the start were their siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews, and many family friends. For instance, Kevin Hayes is in charge of development; Matt Swartz, finance; Ted Zayac, logistics; Cara McCormick and Florence Lawless, entertainment; Mariclare Hayes and Steve Zayak, awareness; Shamus McCormick, race operations; Linda Speicher and Kim Zayac, volunteers, and Bryan Zayac, recognition.

Their efforts and those of volunteers (370 assisted with the last year’s  Jog for Jude), attracted 2,121 participants in 2017, with $108,496 raised. They expect even higher numbers this year.

Jog for Jude features the area’s only 5K race raising awareness and funds for S.I.D.S. research, as well as a 1 Mile Fun Walk. Pricing for participation is age-based, and various other activities including basket raffles and activities for children are featured.

For more information, visit  www.runsignup.com/Race/PA/Dunmore/JogforJude.