Local veterans invited to share their stories

KEVIN FARKAS | contributedTodd DePastino, author and moderator of The Veteran’s Breakfast Club, right, holds a microphone so a veteran can talk about his military experience at a storytelling event held in Pittsburgh. The Shenango Valley Chamber of Commerce is hosting such an event from 8 to 10:30 a.m. Nov. 5, at Buhl Park Casino, Hermitage.

HERMITAGE – Many veterans love to sit around telling war stories. The Shenango Valley Chamber of Commerce is offering a venue for local vets to do just that.

The chamber is hosting the Veteran’s Breakfast Club, a free event for local veterans to tell stories of their military experiences. It will be from 8 to 10:30 a.m. Nov. 5 at Buhl Park Casino in Hermitage. It is being presented in partnership with the Veteran’s Breakfast Club of Pittsburgh.

The storytelling will be moderated by Todd DePastino, author of the book “Bill Mauldin: A Life Up Front”. The event includes opportunities to share and hear stories of local veterans, visit tables with representatives from Mercer County business and regional veterans organizations and enjoy a mini-breakfast buffet provided by Horne’s Homestyle Catering of Sharpsville. 

“We’re honored to present the first Veteran’s Breakfast Club storytelling event in the Shenango Valley,” said Sherris Moreira, the chamber’s executive director. “We believe it’s important for the chamber to support our entire community, and it’s an honor to promote and support our veterans as well as veteran organizations that can provide good information for this important group of people in our area.”

The Veterans Breakfast Club is a local nonprofit organization whose mission is to gather veterans to share their stories with the public. Each year the organization holds over 50 storytelling events at 20 locations throughout Western Pennsylvania. Each event draws about 100 people. DePastino serves as master of ceremonies, walking through the audience with the microphone and inviting veterans to share a story.

“Some of the stories are funny, some are heartbreaking, but they are all important because they’re our history,” Depastino said. “The mission of the Veteran’s Breakfast Club is to create communities of listening around veterans and their stories to ensure this living history will never be forgotten. We’re excited to bring our program to Hermitage.”

Veteran organizations represented will include veteran advisers from Community Action Partnership of Mercer County and Veterans Affairs of Mercer County. There will be tables from the sponsors: Joy Cone; Shan-Nini George Foundation; Veteran’s Resource Center of Penn State Shenango; Community Counseling Center of Mercer County; The Nugent Group: Primary Health Network and the Primary Network Charitable Foundation, Paramount Games and the Medical Equipment Recycling Program of UPMC Horizon. 

Visitors are encouraged to bring unused or gently used medical equipment for the UPMC table. 

Lt. Col. Larry Scheetz, a retired U.S. Army officer and Mercer County’s director of veterans affairs, will present a proclamation commemorating the veterans’ history being told.  

SEATING IS limited to 100. Reservations to the chamber required at: 724-981-5880 or info@svchamber.com.

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