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Norwin veterans memorial nears completion | TribLIVE.com
Norwin

Norwin veterans memorial nears completion

Tony LaRussa
| Tuesday, November 3, 2015 8:12 p.m
NSVetsMemorial1110515
Lillian DeDomenic | For Trib Total Media
The Norwin High School Veterans' Memorial is nearing completion as workers from Arch Masonry install the three tier sides on Oct. 31. The memorial is on the campus of Norwin High School.
NSVetsMemorial3110515
Lillian DeDomenic | For Trib Total Media
The Norwin High School Veterans' Memorial is nearing completion as workers from Arch Masonry install the three tier sides on Oct. 31. The memorial is on the campus of Norwin High School.
NSVetsMemorial51105152
The Norwin High School Veterans' Memorial is nearing completion as workers from Arch Masonry install the three tier sides on Oct. 31. The memorial is on the campus of Norwin High School.
The Norwin High School Veterans' Memorial is nearing completion as workers from Arch Masonry install the three tier sides on Oct. 31. The memorial is on the campus of Norwin High School.
NSVetsMemorial7110515
Lillian DeDomenic | For Trib Total Media
The Norwin High School Veterans' Memorial is nearing completion as workers from Arch Masonry install the three tier sides on Oct. 31. The memorial is on the campus of Norwin High School.
NSVetsMemorial8110515
Lillian DeDomenic | For Trib Total Media
The Norwin High School Veterans' Memorial is nearing completion as workers from Arch Masonry install the three tier sides on Oct. 31. The memorial is on the campus of Norwin High School.
NSVetsMemorial1110515
Lillian DeDomenic | For Trib Total Media
The Norwin High School Veterans' Memorial is nearing completion as workers from Arch Masonry install the three tier sides on Oct. 31. The memorial is on the campus of Norwin High School.
NSVetsMemorial3110515
Lillian DeDomenic | For Trib Total Media
The Norwin High School Veterans' Memorial is nearing completion as workers from Arch Masonry install the three tier sides on Oct. 31. The memorial is on the campus of Norwin High School.
NSVetsMemorial51105152
The Norwin High School Veterans' Memorial is nearing completion as workers from Arch Masonry install the three tier sides on Oct. 31. The memorial is on the campus of Norwin High School.
The Norwin High School Veterans' Memorial is nearing completion as workers from Arch Masonry install the three tier sides on Oct. 31. The memorial is on the campus of Norwin High School.
NSVetsMemorial7110515
Lillian DeDomenic | For Trib Total Media
The Norwin High School Veterans' Memorial is nearing completion as workers from Arch Masonry install the three tier sides on Oct. 31. The memorial is on the campus of Norwin High School.
NSVetsMemorial8110515
Lillian DeDomenic | For Trib Total Media
The Norwin High School Veterans' Memorial is nearing completion as workers from Arch Masonry install the three tier sides on Oct. 31. The memorial is on the campus of Norwin High School.

When Don Kattic got permission from Norwin officials in spring 2014 to erect a veterans memorial on the school district’s campus to honor local soldiers killed in combat since Norwin was formed in 1958, he had no idea where the money would come from to build it.

But he had no doubt that it would get done.

A week from Saturday, a morning ceremony will be held to dedicate the 20-foot-tall, pentagon-shaped monument that is reminiscent of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.

“I didn’t know how long it would take, but I really never felt that we wouldn’t be able to get the money together for this,” said Kattic, 82, commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 781 and a retired Norwin history teacher.

Kattic, who enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1951 and served in the Korean War, previously has been involved with veterans memorials in Irwin and Oak Hollow Park and at the North Huntingdon Town House.

He said the first donation for the Norwin monument came after a news report about plans for it.

“A woman called me and said she had just sold her house and wanted to make a donation,” Kattic said. “So I knocked on her door and she greeted me with a $5 bill in each hand. It wasn’t much, but I figured you have to start somewhere.”

In the 18 months since announcing his plans, some $57,000 has been donated for the project — enough to cover materials and construction of the limestone memorial, which will be adorned by medallions representing each branch of service, and plaques bearing the names of the nearly two dozen soldiers who will be honored.

Kattic said enough money was donated to eventually install lighting and do landscaping around the monument.

Norwin Superintendent William Kerr praised Kattic’s doggedness in seeing the project to completion.

“The Norwin Veterans Memorial Committee, under the leadership of VFW Commander Don Kattic, is to be highly commended for their extraordinary efforts to move the project from concept to reality,” Kerr said. “This fitting tribute brings well-deserved recognition and honor to Norwin High School graduates as veterans who made the supreme sacrifice to protect the freedoms of our country.”

During the school year, Norwin Air Force JROTC cadets will hoist the U.S. flag at the memorial on Mondays and lower it on Fridays, according to school officials.

“The memorial provides an opportunity for all students, parents and school community leaders to pause and reflect when they pass by or visit,” Kerr said. “And it is our chance, once again, to demonstrate that we are a grateful nation.”

Kattic hopes the monument will serve as a learning opportunity for future generations.

“I’d like students who see it to realize just what these kids, who were only 18 or 19 years old, did by giving up their lives for their country,” Kattic said.

Tony LaRussa is a Trib Total Media staff writer.

Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff reporter. You can contact Tony at 724-772-6368, tlarussa@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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