Inaugural Legion Scholarships Awarded – Honors former Commander

by Jonathan Weaver

Robert Edwards served the United States proud during the Korean War and proud as a member of the Armstrong County Honor Guard.

U.S. Navy veteran David Conoran, Sr., of Worthington recalled traveling with Edwards regularly to VA Butler to play BINGO before Edwards died in June 2015, so he helped organize details with his fellow Worthington American Legion veterans last Fall for a scholarship fund in his honor.

“We normally buy one or two books and donate them to the (Worthington-West Franklin Library) for (American Legion Post #828) members, but because of (Edwards’) dedication to this post and this country, we thought it was the least we could do to start a scholarship (too) in honor of him,” Conoran, Sr. said.

Post leaders took guidelines from a half-dozen current scholarships and finalized the essay questions revolving around the theme ‘What Patriotism Means to You’ and ‘How Community Service Has Impacted Your Life.’

To accumulate funds, veterans started by selling 50/50 raffle tickets at meetings before anonymous donations were also received for the scholarship fund – based at the Moonlight Credit Union.

A pair of recent Armstrong County high school graduates received those scholarships last week.

Abby Wolfe, 18 of East Brady, graduated from Karns City High in June and will attend St. Francis University (near Ebensburg in Cambria County), in hopes of becoming a physician’s assistant. The National Honor Society grad, who earned credits in three advanced placement classes – including Advanced Chemistry – leaves for campus August 18.

“I’ve always been interested in medicine,” Wolfe said. “And, you can pretty much do the same thing as a doctor for less years of schooling.”

Wolfe earned funding through her scholarship essay, as well as sports and academic scholarships.

Wolfe’s mother, Kris, is a respiratory therapist.
Wolfe’s brother, Matt, and sister, Emily, are still undecided about their career path, though, while they finish their high school education.

Abby Wolfe, 18 of East Brady, received one of the two inaugural Robert Edwards Memorial Scholarships presented by Worthington American Legion Post #828. Here, she is congratulated by Edwards’ wife, Mary Jane, and daughters, Robin Livengood (of Worthington) and Kim Sarachine (of Widnoon).

Robert Smith, 18, of Worthington, graduated from Lenape Technical School’s Natural Resources Program (in Manor Township), and will attend Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport to study forestry.

Smith, a hunter and fisherman, hopes to continue schooling and achieve a masters degree in parks and recreation. He is currently in the AmeriCorps program and has provided streambank improvement with the Armstrong Conservation District.

“I just like being outside,” Smith said. “I like protecting habitats of animals.”

Smith’s father, Bob, has been an arborist for 25 years. Smith’s brothers and sisters also attended the Manor Township school and all graduated during the past three years.

Edwards’ wife of 60 years, Mary Jane, and daughters, Robin Livengood (of Worthington) and Kim Sarachine (of Widnoon), congratulated each recipient Tuesday.

The daughters both said Edwards’ grandchildren were fond of their grandfather and liked to help plant American flags at local cemeteries.

Robert Smith, 18, of Worthington, received one of the two inaugural Robert Edwards Memorial Scholarships presented by Worthington American Legion Post #828. Here, he is congratulated by Edwards’ wife, Mary Jane, and daughters, Robin Livengood (of Worthington) and Kim Sarachine (of Widnoon).

Family members also said their father would be proud of the Post’s accomplishments and recognition.

Scholarship judges were independent of Post #828.

Post leaders also hope to receive a Small Games of Chance license to raise funds.

A U.S Army Veteran, Edwards served in Korea with the Company A and Company K 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division-the Indian Head Division. He received the Combat Infantry Badge, the Presidential Unit Citation, a Purple Heart with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster, the Korean Service Medal with 5 Bronze Camp Stars and the Bronze Star Medal.

Edwards was the Commander of the Worthington American Legion Post #828 and had served as County Commander of the American Legion for 13 years. He also belonged to the Pattonville VFW.

He was a member of the Purple Heart Association and a founding member of the AmVets. He was also a member of the War Veterans Association.

Edwards was instrumental in starting the Armstrong County American Legion Honor Guard and was passionate in fund raising for the World War II Monument in Washington DC.

Edwards spent his career as a Plumber with Enders Plumbing and Heating in Kittanning.

Donations for the scholarship fund are being accepted.