WWI honor roll from shuttered Moxham church donated to museum
By Dave Sutor
via the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat newspaper (PA) web site
Their names hung inside Park Avenue United Methodist Church for decades – Ivan Barefoot, Raymond K. Lint, Walter Shank and 39 other men who served in the Army or Navy during the World War I era.
Richard Odgers was the first person whose name was entered on the honor roll, having enlisted in September 1914 – after the conflict started, but before the United States actually entered the Great War. Herbert Meyers was the last, joining Oct. 18, 1918, less than a month before the fighting ended on Nov. 11, which is now known as Veterans Day.
Both pages of the church’s honor roll are stained in spots, but otherwise well-preserved, enshrined behind wooden and glass frames, with the names of young men, frozen in time, ageless, but now long-dead. The names are written in a style that evokes images of inkwells and metal-tipped pens.
Before the church in Johnstown’s Moxham neighborhood closed last year, Jacquelyn Reighard, whose aunt was a member of the parish, acquired the documents with the intent of finding a permanent home for them.
The honor roll has been donated to the Cambria County Veterans Memorial Museum at 1st Summit Arena @ The Cambria County War Memorial in downtown Johnstown.
“It was very impressive to see them,” said Reighard, a member of the St. Michael American Legion Post Auxiliary. “They obviously don’t do things like that anymore. I recognize some of the last names, and that meant something. I never went to that church. I grew up outside of Johnstown. I didn’t grow up in Johnstown, but being able to at least recognize last names and being from our area was impactful.”
For Reighard, the pages captured the spirt of the American Legion.
“The American Legion is for ‘God and country,’ and the thought that inside this church they were recognizing the men that were serving within their congregation – to me, it speaks volumes,” Reighard said.
Her husband, Doug Reighard, Pennsylvania American Legion Western Section vice commander, hopes seeing the honor roll can help people make a connection to the area’s military history.
“They need to be hung up and displayed, and (the museum) would be the best place for possible family members to see a grandfather or great-grandfather,” he said. “Take the little ones in and tell them, ‘Hey, that was your great-grandfather, great-great-grandfather that fought in World War I.’ ”
Read the entire article on the Tribune-Democrat web site.
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