DONORA FIRE COMPANY
Front Row (L-R): Allen Fronzaglio; DFC Jr FF, John "Chummy" Lignelli; Donora Mayor, Casey J. Perrotta; DFC Captain, Tom Fronzaglio; DFC Lieutenant, Brett Greenlee; CTVFD Junior FF, Rob Greenlee; CTVFD Assistant Chief, Mel Marinkovich; CTVFD President, Sophia Brand.
Second Row (L-R): Donora Police Officer Brett Massafra, Michael Megela, Tanner Brice; DFC Jr. FF, Paul Brown; DFC Chaplin, Donora Police Officer Neal Rands, Donora Police Superintendent James Brice, Carroll Twp Police Chief Paul Brand, Carroll Twp. Police Officer Michael Fendya, Washington County Commissioner Larry Maggi.
Second Photo L-R:
Walter Zelinski (Knights of Columbus), Donora Mayor John "Chummy" Lignelli, Donora Police Officer Brett Massafra, Donora Fire Captain Casey J. Perrotta, Washington County Judge Debbie O'Dell Seneca, Carroll Twp Police Officer Michael Fendya, Carroll Twp VFD President Mel Marinkovich, Washington County Commissioner Larry Maggi.
Blue Mass fetes local police, fire personnel
Emma Jene Lelik
Donora paid tribute to "those dedicated to protecting us" during a Blue Mass and breakfast on Sunday.
"This was our first Blue Mass held to honor, show our appreciation and pray for the protection of our policemen and firemen," said master of ceremonies Wallace Zielinski, a Fourth Degree Knight, at the event sponsored by Donora Council of the Knights of Columbus.
A large crowd of family, friends and supporters gathered in St. Philip Neri Church, Our Lady of the Valley Parish, for the religious service and then at the breakfast following in the church cafeteria.
Police and fire personnel from the borough and neighboring Carroll Township were included in the tribute and awards were presented to a police officer and a fireman from each of the communities.
The Rev. Michael Yaksick celebrated the Mass and offered invocation and benediction at the breakfast.
"The Knights decided to honor both communities because of the close relationship and also because K of C Council 1941 has members from both Donora and Carroll," said Anthony Massafra, one of the organizers. "We thought this would be a good way to show public support for the men and women who put their lives on the line on every call."
Donora Mayor John Lignelli gave a vivid example of "putting your life on the line" as he related a recent incident concerning Donora's "officer of the year," Brett Massafra.
"A young woman was over the railing, attempting to jump from the Donora-Monessen Bridge when Brett extended his big body over the bridge to grab her," Lignelli said. "(Donora Police Superintendent) Jim Brice grabbed him and held on or we would have lost Brett, too."
The mayor went on to say the chosen policeman "gives 110 percent of his time each and every day." He described him as a "hound dog who can sniff out drug dealers."
Lignelli also praised the chosen fireman, Casey J. Perrotta, "who is great at raising funds to upgrade fire department equipment, as well as dedication to fire fighting."
Washington County Commissioner Larry Maggi, who has a long history of work in law enforcement, was asked to make the Carroll Township presentations as the designated township official could not attend.
Maggi apologized for "not knowing as much background about the policeman and fireman due to the short notice given me," but on announcing the policeman of the year, Michael Fendya, the large round of applause indicated the audience knew him very well.
Milan Marinkovich accepted the Carroll Township fireman's award for D. Scott Cramer, who was not present.
Washington County President Judge Debbie O'Dell Seneca was guest speaker.
"These men and women have a very dangerous job; it's very fitting that we honor them," the judge said.
Tony Massafra said community leaders were asked to submit the names of the firemen and policemen honored.
Grand Knight Ronald Nagy, whose father was a fireman for 30 years, thanked everyone on hand.
The Fallowfield Township Fire Department also was represented and two Donora brothers, Anthony and Pete Tokach, who work for law enforcement in Winchester, Va., were introduced as well as Magisterial District Judge Mark Wilson.
Also instrumental in helping with the successful event were the other K of C officers: Tom Murphy, deputy grand knight; Ed O'Neil, secretary, and Bob Murdoch, treasurer.
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