Memorial bench to be placed at Penn Hills Elementary |
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Michael Divittorio

A memorial bench honoring late Penn Hills School District family members will be installed at the elementary school.

The school board recently approved the donation of a “Fallen Indians” bench to the pre-K through fourth grade school at 1079 Jefferson Road. It was unclear when or where it would be placed.

“We really have to talk as a school leadership team in terms of if we want it up front or in our garden area,” Principal Kristin Brown said. She said staff and community members donated money to purchase the bench.

“These people are important,” Brown said about the Fallen Indians. “To us, they were members of our school community who touched the lives of many.”

Information on how much the bench cost and where it was purchased from was not immediately available. It is similar in style to the two at the high school at 309 Collins Drive.

Acquisition of the first 8-foot-long red bench with the words “Remembering Our Fallen Indians” written on the back next to the district’s logo was a student-led project designed to honor their late classmates. Commercial Site Furnishings of Montgomery, Ala., made the bench. It cost about $1,100 and was unveiled Aug. 9, 2016.

Among the Fallen Indians remembered at that ceremony were former student Eric Young and softball coach Joe Healey, who died of esophageal cancer June 5, 2016 at 62.

Diagnosed in early February that year, Healey balanced chemotherapy treatments and softball practices and games. He coached six seasons, with his best record, 8-9, in 2013.

Young was fatally shot in Pittsburgh’s Hill District on Oct. 8, 2014. He was a student and football player at Penn Hills High School in 2013-14 but began his senior year at Pittsburgh Public Schools’ University Prep in fall 2014. He was 17.

The high school received a second bench earlier this year. It cost approximately $1,350 and paid for through the Nate Ferraco Memorial Fund.

Ferraco , a Penn Hills valedictorian and three-sport stand out, died at the age of 18 in a car crash in Butler County in January 2016.

It’s unclear if Linton Middle School would get its own bench.

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, [email protected] or via Twitter @MikeJdiVittorio.

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