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The Indiana County commissioners on Wednesday celebrated the legacy and sacrifices of American military men and women in a pair of commemorative resolutions.

On the day that The Wall That Heals, a scale replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall, arrived in Indiana County, the commissioners passed a proclamation citing the 41 Indiana County natives who were killed or lost in Vietnam and asking county residents to treat all Vietnam War veterans, living and dead, with honor and to remember them with respect and reverence.

Also on behalf of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 1989 in Indiana, commissioners adopted the “Honoring Our Indiana County Veterans” resolution to encourage awareness and participation in a wreath-laying ceremony planned for noon Dec. 14, when volunteer supporters will decorate with fresh greens the cemeteries where 12,000 documented military veterans rest throughout Indiana County.

Marking the wreath-laying event in real time, according to the proclamation, a ceremony on the steps of the Indiana County Court House will be punctuated with the ringing of church bells throughout the county.

“We’re not going to forget our veterans,” Commissioner Rodney Ruddock said as he presented the signed proclamation to VFW Commander Wesley Wertz.

“It’s an ever-growing project,” Wertz said. “We’ve found veterans buried at 177 cemeteries, sometimes with just one headstone. We’re adding to it every single year … and we’re proud to do this.”

• The commissioners proclaimed National Business Women’s Week, Oct. 21 to 27, at the behest of the Indiana Business and Professional Women’s Club.

“Whereas women in Indiana County lead and develop successful businesses, become highly educated and trained professionals, and distinguish themselves as leaders in specialized and challenging fields,” Commissioner Sherene Hess read from the proclamation, “and whereas Indiana County is grateful for the innumerable contributions made to our economic and social fabric … in recognition of the critical role that women have played in the development and success of Indiana County business community,” the commissioners offered the proclamation.

• Through another proclamation, the commissioners designated October as National Community Planning Month.

Hess noted, “Change is constant and affects all cities, towns, suburbs, counties, boroughs, townships, rural areas and other places, and whereas community planning can help manage this changes ... the American Planning Institute and the American Institute of Certified Planners endorse (the month) as an opportunity to highlight the contribution of sound planning.”

• The commissioners also saluted Kimberly Cobaugh, administrator of Communities at Indiana Haven, the county-owned nursing home, who recently was named the administrator of the year by the Pennsylvania Coalition of Affiliated Healthcare & Living Communities (PACAH).

The county home is administered under a contract by Affinity Healthcare. Affinity director Denise McQuown Hatter told the commissioners that Cobaugh was honored for her “above and beyond” service, participation on PACAH committees, and for mentoring young community living administrators.

“She has been committed to Indian Haven … her motto has been, ‘we will be the last county home standing!’” Hatter said. “I can assure you … and I have my own family there … that this is an excellent professional care facility.”

“I thank my team for their support,” Cobaugh said.

“I have been 20-some years at Indian Haven and I still love my job. I go home every day feeling that I made a difference in somebody’s life. And that’s the best thing you could ask for.”

Staff writer/Web Editor, The Indiana (Pa.) Gazette

Staff Writer/Web Editor

Chauncey Ross represents the Gazette at the Indiana Area and Homer-Center school boards and White Township, Center Township, Homer City and Burrell Township, and is something of an Open Records, Right to Know and Sunshine Law advocate in the newsroom.