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Coaldale Veterans of Foreign Wars Stembrosky-Katchak Post 6982 originated on April 25, 1946 with 65 charter members. The first officers to serve this honorable organization are pictured below.

Seated left to right: Walter Bortnick (Jr. Vice Commander), John Bonenberger (Sr. Vice Commander), Stephen Gaydos (Commander), Randolph Harvey (Quartermaster), Joseph Shigo (Trustee). Standing: Michael Matrician (Chaplin), George Oransky (Adjutant), Installing Officer.


Seated from left: Richard Weaver (Commander), John Nelligan (Sr. Vice Commander), Cary Weaver (Jr. Vice Commander). Standing from left: Carmen DeSanti (State Inspector and Installing Officer), Joseph Pavlovich (Director), Ed Blasko (Secretary), James Bynon (Quartermaster/Adjutant), and Nicholas Paraschak (Past Commander).PHOTO:AL SWORD/TIMES NEWS

The post was named in honor of George Joseph Stembrosky, son of George and Mary Stembrosky of 210 W. Phillip St. Coaldale, Pa. and John Katchak, son of Michael and Eva Katchak of 214 W. High St.

Soon after George J. Stembrosky graduated from Coaldale High School in June of 1940, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He was assigned to the USS Nevada and perished in the initial attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 194l. He was interred along with his fellow crewmembers at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii until 1949 when his family had his remains transferred to the National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

John Katchak left Coaldale High School his senior year, 1941, to join the U.S. Marine Corps. Following basic training at Paris Island his unit was stationed on Wake Island. John perished when the Japanese bombed Wake on the morning of December 8, 1941. He was initially buried on wake until 1953 when he was interred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii. His family also placed a memorial stone at Skyview Cemetery in Hometown, Pa.

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