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East Lycoming plans tributes and surprises at Friday’s home game

By Staff | Sep 2, 2015

(Center) Dan Berninger from Muncy Bank & Trust, Oliver Holmes from Picture Rocks Lions Club and Richard Michael, East Lycoming School board president are standing with the Hughesville High School football team who will be honoring all veterans at this Friday's home game. They have planned lots of surprises to make this an annual military appreciation game at the Harold L. Schaeffer Memorial Stadium.

HUGHESVILLE – The biggest game of the season is probably yet to come, according to East Lycoming School Superintendent, Michael Pawlik. For this coming Friday, students and faculty are planning a “Military Appreciation Day and Game” for their first home game.

Pawlik reported that it was an idea that started with the football team last year and has been evolving ever since. The students actually came up with the idea, prompted by the support of staff and administrators. “What can we do?” they asked and so, plans took off from there.

A military salute with a special tribute to all veterans is planned and they are hoping for a large turnout of military personnel and veterans.

Some pre-game festivities will include two live marching bands from the schools, East Juniata and East Lycoming that will do a military salute. The booster club and cheerleaders will also be helping, and student council members will be handing out special ribbons and escorting the veterans to their stadium seats.

“All veterans are invited to attend the game free of charge,” Pawlik said. “They will be part of a pre-game show which will begin about 20 minutes before the game.

Recruiters from all military branches will be setting up tables and Pawlik excitedly related that a group of new recruits that will be joining the US Army will be officially sworn in that night.

“And look for a surprise when the football team enters the field,” added Pawlik.

Sponsored by Muncy Bank & Trust, a fireworks display will be featured at the end of the game, and the Hughesville American Legion also gave a “very generous donation” towards the game’s festivities to help offset costs along with the Picture Rocks Lions Club who also helped with some of the additional fees. The community support has been outstanding. “This is a perfect way to recognize our veterans and our military,” said Dan Berninger, President and CEO of Muncy Bank & Trust.

The American Legion Post 35 in Hughesville has been extremely generous according to Pawlik and they are primarily responsible for the nice surprise. Board members of the American Legion said they wanted to give back to their community and willingly backed the school on this endeavor to recognize and not “overlook” the veterans. “This is our way to give back. We hope to fill the stadium,” they said.

Students who have family members in the military will feel extra special during the game’s ceremonies. Ethan Duff said he has an older brother and sister who spent time in the armed forces and would like to encourage anyone who served to come to the game. “It’s going to be electrifying,” said Trent Woolcock, a senior.

“We are expecting a huge crowd,” Pawlik added. “It has been very inspirational and involved. We hope to make this an annual event. And all veterans everywhere are welcome, not just here in East Lycoming.”