A dinner to honor a late veteran and raise money for a scholarship benefiting veterans’ family members is set for Oct. 5 at California University of Pennsylvania.
The scholarship and the 6 p.m. Families First event in the university’s Convocation Center arena are a tribute to the late Kerrie Gill Sr. of Centerville, a university alumnus and Army veteran who served in the Korean War. Gill was commander of the Pennsylvania Department of the American Legion in 2011-12 and was a three-term commander of the former Legion post in California.
Gill earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business from California University. He also worked in the university’s information technology department.
Mike Kanalis, Gill’s nephew and director of facilities management at the university, said in a news release that his uncle was “always a proponent of the Legion” and was “one of the most intelligent men I’ve known, especially in the area of computers.”
Organizers want to raise at least $10,000 to endow the Commander Kerrie Gill Sr. Memorial Family Scholarship, which would be awarded to an undergraduate who has completed at least 12 credits and is the dependent of an American Legion member.
Denise Rohan, past national commander of the American Legion, will be the keynote speaker for the dinner, which will be hosted by university President Geraldine M. Jones and university trustee Larry Maggi, a Marine Corps veteran.
“This will be a very special event,” said Robert Prah, director of the university’s Office of Military and Veterans Affairs. “Denise Rohan is the first woman to serve as national commander of the American Legion, where she made ‘Family First’ her theme.”
Reservations are required for the dinner, which costs $25 per person. For an additional $15, guests also may attend a 4:30 p.m. reception and photo opportunity with Rohan in the Convocation Center’s south wing. Light refreshments will be served at the reception, which will be attended by other dignitaries including Pennsylvania Legion Commander James Vollrath.
Before the dinner, guests may visit the Manderino Library for the final day of “We Can Do It! WWII,” a free exhibition of World War II memorabilia including items from the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh and others contributed by area historical societies and by members of the university community.
For reservations, contact [email protected] or 724-938-4076 by Sept. 25.
Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter @jhimler_news.