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Current Events and Happenings

MZHS News Article

The Mt Zion Historical Society has been making great strides it fulfilling its mission as the premier historical organization for the Bennett's Valley area. It has been most proud of its Mt Zion Historical Park and Veteran's Memorial Park and walkway. A summary of our current activities can be seen on this page, and also ways in which you can help and contribute.


To date the Mt. Zion Historical Society has installed, or have ready to be installed, or have on order over 200 Veteran’s Pavers for the Veteran’s Walkway at the Mt. Zion Historical Park. The Society and Valley American Legion are furnishing free pavers for all veterans up to and including World War I. In addition, the they are also providing free pavers for all veterans of Jay and Benezette Townships who have been KIA, MIA, or POW. You can check the names of local veteran’s in the Recognizing our Veteran’s section of this web-site.


 You can help by visiting the Recognizing our Veteran’s section and help to update the page by furnishing information on the veterans - additions, missing names, corrections, and or supplemental information ( for the empty spaces).


On the Honoring our Veterans page of the Mt. Zion Historical Society’s web-site is our special project "Lest We Forget". Here are stories honoring and remembering our veterans. Many thanks to Evo Facchine who granted permission to use a number of his stories, and thanks to those that have added their own stories of their loved veterans. This project has exceeded our dreams and we hope you find these both interesting and inspirational.

If you would like to add a story to this collection contact Jim Burke of the Mt Zion Historical Society.


The Mt. Zion Historical is offering two scholarships totaling $1,000. The St. Mary Area School District has agreed to work with the society on this project. The Scholarship is open to all local students. The qualification to compete for the Scholarship is to write an essay on any subject relating to the History of Bennett’s Valley. You can get additional information on the scholarship by contacting Rita Fence Ovell at Abby Road, Weedville, Pa. 15868, Phone # 814-787-7282, e-mail address rdgrnrs2@windstream.net. The funds for the scholarship have been made available by the sponsorship of four local donors.


 The Mt. Zion Historical Society is currently working to develop an E-Mail Newsletter.  This newsletter is intended not only to help with keeping you informed on current and coming events, but a large circulation is a enormous help in obtaining available grants   Help us out - sign up for the free newsletter and keep up dated on what is going on with the Mt. Zion Historical Society and park. You may do so my contacting Jim Burke of the Mt Zion Historical Society.


By being here, you realize that our Society has met a major goal in 2008. The development of a our own web site devoted to supporting the mission and vision of the Society by making informtion of Bennett's Valley and the society available through our own website and name: www.zion.newagemadden.com and emails to jburke@zion.newagemadden.com.

Our web coordinator also has another web site that would be of interest to you also- the Elk County genealogy site for PAGenWeb - The Pennsylvania Genealogy Web. This has fast become the most comprehensive genealogy website for Elk county. He also recently became the coordinator for the Cameron County genealogy site .

If you have any comments or information for our web coordinator you can email Bob Nay on our MZHS email address.

Other Work in Progress

  Currently, the following items are being worked on or are under consideration as part of the continuing enhancements to the Mt Zion Historical Park

How You Can Participate

As you can see we have come a long way in the past decade since our founding in 1997. We have ambitious plans to continually improve our initiatives to meet our mission and vision. Your support and participation would be very much appreciated. You can help in may ways: by becoming a member; by providing donations; by participating in our special projects; or through your purchases of brick pavers or park benches for our veterans. See our Membership section.


The Mt. Zion Historical Society meets on the third Tuesday of each month, except for December. Meetings are open to the public, and anyone desiring to attend are more than welcome. The meetings are held at either a room provided for the society in the basement of the W Church in Weedville, or at the Park depending upon the weather. For information call Susan Mc Clintick, Phone 814-787-7823.

Mt. Zion Historical Park holds Memorial Day Ceremony Written by Publisher Tuesday, 26 May 2009 Photo by Becky Polaski State Representative Matt Gabler, right, is shown greeting family members of Private Harry E. Harrison, who was killed in action in France in 1944. Harrison was supposed to have posthumously been awarded a Bronze Star Medal and it was finally presented to his family by Gabler on Saturday. By Becky Polaski Staff Writer The Mt. Zion Historical Society held its annual Memorial Day celebration on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Mt. Zion Historical Park. The guest speaker at this year’s event was State Representative Matt Gabler. As he addressed the crowd, Gabler reflected on the history of Jay and Benezette Townships and noted that it is something for the Township residents to be proud of. “I think it is important for all of us to remember what a vibrant history we have,” Gabler said. Gabler, along with Elk County Veterans Affairs Director Leslie Neal-Glatt, also made a special presentation to the family of Private Harry E. Harrison. “There are some times across history where our government doesn’t quite get things right. Today we have the opportunity to correct one of those such instances,” Gabler said. He explained that Harrison was killed in action in France on June 24, 1944. When Harrison’s family was notified of his death in November 1944, they were informed that Harrison would be posthumously receiving a Bronze Star Medal for gallantry and bravery in action. “Up until today, that has only been on paper. For whatever reason the family has never received that Bronze Star,” Gabler explained. He and Neal-Glatt then presented the family with the Bronze Star Medal in honor of Private Harrison. Following this presentation, Neal-Glatt gave the dedication of the special award plaques and walkway pavers that had been installed at the Historical Park over the past year in honor of area veterans. Others addressing the sizable crowd that gathered for the ceremony included Mt. Zion Historical Society President James Burke. As he addressed those in attendance, Burke reflected on the activities that have taken place in the past year and also noted that since last year’s ceremony there have been 158 memorial pavers installed in the walkway at the Historical Park. He also explained that the Mt. Zion Historical Society now has a web site and can be found online at http://zion.newagemadden.com. Ron Guilyard addressed the crowd regarding Benezette native John Showers. Guilyard explained that Showers was killed in action in Vietnam in October 1967 while trying to save the life of a fellow soldier. “Men like John must never be forgotten,” Guilyard said. “On October 3, 2009 the newest bridge in Benezette will be dedicated to John and named the J. Showers Bridge.” Evo Facchine also spoke during the ceremony. Facchine wrote articles on ten Jay Township residents who lost their lives during World War II. These articles can be found on the Mt. Zion Historical Society web site. Facchine discussed how he came to write the articles and noted all of the help that he had received from the individuals’ family members. Mary Parziale Bentz was the final individual to address the crowd during the ceremony. She is the niece of Carmine Parziale of Weedville, who was one of 70 men killed aboard the USS Grunion in 1942. Bentz explained that the Grunion’s crew members were listed as missing in action for over 65 years until the submarine was finally located in 2006. Bentz was extremely influential in the search for the family members of the 70 men who were killed onboard the USS Grunion. She shared her story about contacting those individuals and also finding the final resting place of the submarine. A memorial plaque honoring her uncle was also dedicated during this year’s ceremony. Prior to the ceremony, a fly over was performed by Caruso’s Flying Service using a reconditioned Army plane, which Master of Ceremonies Charles Carpin explained was a B 17 1941 Boeing Stearman. Assisting with the continued development of the Historical Park is Josh Smith of Weedville, who is working under the supervision of David Kinkle as a requirement for his Eagle Badge of Rank. Smith organized a work party at the park at the beginning of May and a second work party is scheduled in order to put the finishing touches on the Veteran’s Honor Walkway. Smith is a member of Troop 94, the Order of the Arrow, and is Senior Patrol Leader of his scout troop. Last Updated ( Wednesday, 27 May 2009 )


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