PA Hero Walk officials will donate Trafford house to Penn Hills veteran |
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Patrick Varine
Ron Borland (center) of Vandergrift, who served with the Navy from 1967-1971 with and 1973-1975, walks along Route 30 West just outside Jennerstown with Shawn Haugh, of Leechburg, retired E9 Master Sgt. with the Air Force and a Marine Corps veteran, and Al Pulice of Murrysville, founder and director of the PA Hero Walk, on Wednesday, June 22, 2016.

There’s an unmistakable tone of disbelief when Eric Seitz of Penn Hills talks about the PA Hero Walk.

The 35-year-old Marine Corps veteran who served in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom and in Iraq is the latest to be helped by charitable organization’s nine-year drive to assist those who served in the military.

This year, the annual walk will raise money to put Seitz in his own home in Trafford.

“I had no expectation of this, so it’s been an extraordinary blessing,” Seitz said. “After going through a divorce, being epileptic, and having a rough few years, to get such strong support from people who until recently were strangers? It’s amazing.”

The home he’ll get was donated by Kirk Rettger and Choice Auto Sales, said walk organizer Al Pulice of Murrysville. It is on Duquesne Avenue, up the street from Trinity United Methodist Church, which was founded by Seitz’s grandfather and former Trafford Mayor Elmer Henderson.

With a goal of getting the house ready for Seitz to move in, Pulice is hoping that participation in the fundraising walk this year exceeds last year.

“This whole thing is centered around raising enough money to get the house ready for Eric,” he said.

Volunteers from Stanford Home Center and SRK Construction in Plum will help in preparing the home for donation.

The annual walk was originally inspired by Pulice’s efforts to help Iraq war veteran Jeremy Feldbusch of Blairsville, who was blinded while fighting overseas.

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For the past five years, walk organizers have administered the funds and directed them toward local veterans.

“The money that local people are donating is actually helping their neighbors: paying utility bills, purchasing cars, and this year, helping to donate a home to a war veteran.”

The Oct. 7 Hero Walk will start at 10 a.m. from Murrysville Community Park. The walk will wind 2.6 miles down Wiestertown Road to Hills Church Road and finish at Rivertowne Brewery on Old William Penn Highway. Registration for the event is at 9 a.m. at the park.

The walk raised more than $200,000 in 2016, and has raised about $2 million since it was started, Pulice said.

“The money is staying right here in Pennsylvania, and we appreciate all that Pennsylvania does for veterans,” he said.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.

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