Boy Scouts of America French Creek Council presented its Washington Trail District’s 11th annual Patriot’s Day Ceremony on Sept. 11 at the Meadville Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks Lodge 219.
Over the years, the group has honored 59 recipients, including the five named for this year’s ceremony.
This year’s honorees included Sandra L. McKillop Rossi, Dale A. Collin, James A. Marvin, Art Cocolin and Robert A. Brown.
The program included singing by Yesterday’s Sound; “Taps” played by Kevin Simpson of Meadville; and the attendance of three local state lawmakers, Sen. Bob Robbins, Rep. Michelle Brooks and Rep. Brad Roae.
The Elks Lodge served a light meal after the ceremony.
Following are the program’s official biographies for each 2012 recipient:
Sandra L. McKillop Rossi
Sandra is a person whose past has truly shaped the person she is today.
She was born in Korea at the end of the Korean War when there was little hope for a bright future. After spending the first three years of her life in an orphanage in Seoul, South Korea, she was adopted by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Kenneth and Florence McKillop, who became the only parents she has ever known.
After coming to America, the family settled in Florida. Tragedy struck her again when her dad was killed in an Air Force flight training accident. Sandra and her mother returned to Pittsburgh, where Sandra now grew up in a single-parent home. Because of her mother’s strong will and firm belief that she should always have a home and always feel a part of her adopted country, Sandra was naturalized an American Citizen at the age of 7.
In 1975, after graduating from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, she came to Meadville to begin her career in non-profit, human services working with disruptive youth through an alternative educational program. In 1977 she joined the United Way of Western Crawford County, working for former Director Dwight Haas. Since then, over the years, she has served on and volunteered for many boards and committees tackling such diverse issues as homelessness, domestic violence, financial stability for low-income families, juvenile delinquency, poverty, health care, transportation needs, day care issues, fuel and emergency assistance.
In 1999 after Dwight Haas retired, Sandra was named director of the United Way of Western Crawford County.
During her 12-year tenure as director, the Community Improvement Center was developed after it became obvious that Make a Difference Day could not meet all of the needs in just one day of service. Its purpose is to assist low-income families, handicapped individuals and senior citizens to remain in their own homes, by providing an opportunity for youth and other individuals to learn skills and renovate existing homes, which would allow families to remain in their own homes. The CIC is also responsible for coordinating the local Global Youth Service Day in April of each year when youth come together to work on various service projects throughout the community.
Sandra has also put in countless hours working with different veteran groups, and area Boy Scouts and Girls Scout troops, helping these organizations put together programs such as the Elks Lodge Flag Retirement Ceremony, which teaches respect for the flag. They also assist with placing and removing flags at the various cemeteries.
As a breast cancer survivor of seven years, she has volunteered her time, whenever called upon, to anyone needing guidance and support while going through this intensely personal and emotional struggle. She has advised many women throughout the community and different parts of the country on what to expect. What questions to ask and how to cope with it. She has done this with honesty, compassion and humor.
Currently a retiree from the United Way of Western Crawford County, she is now working part-time in another non-profit agency, the Crawford County Humane Society Veterinary Hospital, and continues to remain active with local committees and organizations.
Dale A. Collins
Dale is a lifelong resident of Crawford County. He graduated from Meadville High School in 1965.
Dale started his public service career by being a patrolman for the Meadville City Police Department under former Chief Jack Holt. After spending about nine months with the police department, he decided to become a fireman with Meadville Central Station. He retired after 22 years of fighting fires and saving lives.
Then, continuing his public service career, he became a deputy sheriff for Crawford County, hired by former Sheriff Bob Stevens, and retired after 16 years of service in that position.
His second retirement didn’t last very long as he was asked by the county judges to return to the courtroom setting working on the tip staff.
In his personal life he is a member of Elks Lodge 219, where he is chairman of the Investigating Committee and volunteers on other committees as well. He is also a member of Blooming Valley Methodist Church, Saegertown American Legion Post 205 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2006 in Meadville.
He has been married to his wife, Dorothy, for 37 years and they have three children and 13 grandchildren.
He has been a very influential father, as his oldest son continues public service as a corporal with the Pennsylvania State Police. His youngest son is serving his country as a sergeant-major, Special Forces U.S. Army.
He enjoys hunting, fishing, golf and archery in his free time as well as helping friends and family.
A couple of quotes from one of his best friends are, “I can always count on his help no matter what the conditions may be.” If you are looking for someone who has made public service their career, I think you have chosen a very good example.
James A. Marvin
As a youth, Jim was in Boy Scouts, but unfortunately his troop fell apart due to the lack of adult leadership. He graduated from Saegertown Junior-Senior High School, where he played basketball, but has always loved any sports.
Jim is a Veteran of the U.S. Army, having served from 1956 through 1958.
Jim entered Edinboro Teachers School (now Edinboro University of Pennsylvania). When a wrestling team was formed he joined and wrestled for them for two years.
Upon graduation from Edinboro Teachers School he began his teaching career at Meadville High School in Crawford Central School District. He taught there one year before transferring to Cambridge Springs Junior-Senior High School. Then Cambridge Springs became part of PENNCREST School District. After many years at Cambridge Springs he transferred to Saegertown Junior-Senior High School because he resided in Saegertown.
While teaching at these two locations, he also earned his master’s degree from Allegheny College, plus earned 30 doctoral credits at Boston College.
Jim devoted 39 years in mathematics education before retiring, and has devoted his life to motivating and empowering young people to do and be their best in and out of the classroom.
While being a teacher of upper-level mathematics, he was also involved in mentoring many student organizations and clubs including the Junior Engineering Technology Society (JETS) Team for 12 years, leading them to multiple state championships and even a national championship within their respective classification.
He also coached varsity and junior high football and wrestling for many years. He has the distinction of initially starting the wrestling program at Cambridge Springs High School in the early 1960s.
To take a quote from Jim’s son, who also is a teacher at Saegertown Junior-Senior High School: “I consider teaching to be of the most honorable and important professions one can commit a career to.”
Jim has also served as a PIAA referee for football, basketball, wrestling, baseball, softball, and boys and girls volleyball. But he served as a referee for wrestling the longest — 26 years.
For 10 years he has volunteered countless hours coaching baseball in the Saegertown area to youth ranging in age from 10 to 18.
He has been a member of the Meadville Masonic Temple for 27 years, spending countless hours volunteering to raise money for multiple charities within the local community. He has the distinction of being recognized as the recipient of the 33rd degree, which is given to only to 2 percent of all Masons nationwide based on character and service to the Masonic organization.
He is a member of Twelve Apostles Lutheran Church in Saegertown, where he has served on church council, still serves as an usher and on the Call Committee for a new pastor. Jim also attends Saegertown United Methodist Church with his wife.
He has been a Boy Scout Leader with Troop 254 in Saegertown, volunteering for 12 years as an assistant scoutmaster. He has encouraged young scouts to reach their goals by teaching strong values and moral character. He started on this venture to be with his grandson, Noah, to make sure that the troop had leadership. So if Noah wanted to get his Eagle Scout, he could do so and he did. Jim has served as a merit badge counselor and has gotten scouts prepared for their Eagle Scout Board of Review. This spring Jim was given the Mentor Pin by one of the troops newest Eagle Scouts.
He has been married for 56 years to the former Beverly Bergholtz and they have three children and five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
In 1943, Art began serving his country as a glider and paratrooper with the 17th and 82nd Airborne divisions. During his military service he served in England and flew into Belgium in the battle of the Bulge, as well as serving in Berlin, Germany. He was awarded the Bronze Star when his squadron killed or captured 109 Germans and three cows.
When Art and his wife, Jean, came to Meadville in 1948, he and his brother, John, opened Johnny’s Drive-in (or Car Hop) on Washington Street. This was the local hangout for teenagers and young adults, long before fast food, Red Barn or McDonald’s ever came to Meadville.
Since 1963 he and his wife, Jean, have owned and operated the local Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise. Yes, he has met the Colonel himself, on several occasions at the annual KFC International Franchise Convention held in Las Vegas. There are photos hanging in the KFC to prove it. He has also been instrumental in helping David Thayer getting the Dairy Queen franchise started in Meadville.
He has been involved in the community through Little League, Kiwanis, the Meadville Area Sports Banquet, WQLN advisory board, the United Way of Western Crawford County, March of Dimes, DARE, American Cancer Society, American Red Cross, Sertoma Club and Women’s Services.
He continues to be involved with Active Aging, Chamber of Commerce, Crawford County Quality Living Center, Big Brothers and Sisters, YMCA, SCORE, the Meadville Country Club, Crawford County Crime Stoppers, Meadville Medical Center Board and Crawford County Multi-human Services Development.
He is a life member of Meadville Elks Lodge 219, and in 1990 he was the recipient of the Elks Community Citizen of the Year Award.
Some of his other accomplishments include being the recipient of the 1972 Jaycee’s Man of the Year Award, 1972 Who’s Who in Pennsylvania and in 1992 he was awarded the Pennsylvania Gov. Raymond P. Shafer Award for Distinguished Community Service.
In 1986 he traveled to Poland as a member of Americares to help distribute food and medical supplies to the Polish people during that country’s solidarity movement. He, along with four others, distributed medical supplies, candy, fruit and toys to the residents.
In the summer of 2002, at the age of 77, he got this brilliant idea to go jump out of an airplane, and then again in 2003, after many, many years of keeping his feet firmly planted on the ground.
He is the father of three children and the grandfather of six.
A quote from Gov. Raymond P. Shafer that was recited during his presentation to Art of the Gov. Raymond P. Shafer Award: “One makes a living by what one gets, one makes a life by what one gives,” and Art Cocolin has given and continues to give a lot to make this community a better place to live.
Robert A. Brown
Brown, 14909 Mackey Hill Road Waterford, has been interested in fire fighting since he was a young boy. He joined the Stancliff Hose Company in Waterford as a junior fireman at the age of 14.
He graduated from Fort LeBoeuf High School. Between the ages of 18 and 20 he started fighting numerous major fires out west. He also has attended numerous fire fighting and safety classes. He was a member of Stancliff Hose Company for 14 years.
In 1991 Bob became a fire warden, serving northwest Pennsylvania. He moved from the Waterford area to Mill Village in 1992. Wanting to continue to serve others, he then joined the Mill Village Fire Department.
He has held the positions of lieutenant and captain of fire and rescue and is still on the board of directors. Bob has been the chairman for the fire department’s annual Poker Run (fundraiser) for many years, getting up as early as 4 a.m. to start the day.
Bob is a federal fire warden. He has skills and expertise that the federal government, FEMA, and UPMC Hamot have recognized and trained Bob to use in times of major disasters. This makes Bob qualified to “get things done” in disaster relief as it applies to getting hospitals back up and running in their communities.
Bob was an active parent when his son was a Cub Scout in Pack 6 in Mill Village and then Troop 6 when his son became a Boy Scout. Bob had served as a merit badge counselor for three years and continues to be very supportive of scouting. He has taken scouts on nature walks on his property and donated building supplies numerous times for different scout projects.
Bob is married to Shelly and they have a son and a daughter. His whole family gets involved with the fire department’s annual fundraising. He and his wife prepare the letters seeking funds from the community. His daughter then folds the letters and stuffs them in envelopes.
In his spare time he enjoys hunting and four-wheeling with his family.