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Mr. Rogers and his Birds Get Around

By Brokaw

The Boyertown Bulletin

Rogers doesn’t believe in his birds—“Cages are for criminals,” he says. “My think the Bug is their cage.”


two birds—Skittles and Bonnie, both parakeets—ride along with the Township Navy vet when he around the area in his 1973 Beetle.

“These guys are at Wawa’s, Lowe’s, the Depot, to Kimberton and Phoenixville—people know name and they don’t mine,” Rogers says. OK, though—I’m alright with the Birdman.”

Bonnie and Skittles and peck sometimes—Skittles is overprotective, has a tad of the man disease” says Rogers—yet usually happy, when and off the road, on their homemade watching Sponge Bob, Mouse, and Marlon Brando

“These guys are great for me,” Rogers says. helped me quit smoking—they’d be and spitting in my ear, and I said ‘I need that.’”

Skittles and don’t speak, at least in any English-speaking humans can understand.

say ‘do you teach your birds to and I say no, because then they’ll on me,” Rogers says. “I ask ‘do you know what your saying?’”

The birds aren’t too in their choice of toys:

people go out and spend hundreds of on their birds; I give a paper plate and a coffee and they’re happy for hours. don’t bother the wires and just eat their perch.”

the parakeets do get a good bit of meandering in, aren’t nearly as mobile as was in his Navy days, when he in the VXE-6 squadron as a cargo In less than two years of he spent time in Jacksonville, Corpus Christi, Quonset Island), and Antarctica.

Wait.

“We mostly sat around and played Rogers says. “I slept in a hut, but it was considered sea duty, we were on 200 feet of ice.”

Two serving at the South Pole, at Station, in the aptly named Deep Freeze, wasn’t all eventful. The Navy time did a tradition in the Rogers family,

Bruce’s father George was a of World War II and the Korean War, time served on the U.S.S. Bruce’s son Michael was on “tin for a while,” and also sailed on an carrier.

Birds also run in the Rogers has a newspaper clipping a 1954 Oswego Valley newspaper that shows his George Gardner with his parrot Rocko, who, to the clipping’s caption “keeps up a conversation.”

Rogers’ current friends don’t talk his ear they’re happy enough to a ride near every and only require that sometimes be forgiven for tearing up an odd when he’s taking a

“When I went out on disability I my watch and my calendar away—I give a (dang) what it is,” Rogers says. V.A. told me I’m nuts, but I’m they told me to not overdo it I first took off, so I a stone wall in front of my

Rogers was diagnosed with disease in 2002; he had worked as a maintenanceman at American Inks and Valley Forge, for 33 years, and spent some time at a slaughterhouse, and then in the shop for Landscaping, Zieglerville. This experience helps Rogers he needs to make fixes to his

“If you can color with a pencil, you can he says. “I’ve had (Volkswagen) buggies, hatchbacks, buses—Type Bug is one of the newer ones I’ve I drove a 1966 Type 2 to the Knoxville  World’s Fair, and we have the windshield cave in, but that was like pushing a of bread through a wind

Rogers’ son Michael and two-year-old Nicholas live in Wilmington; his Rachel and one-year-old grandson live in Boyertown. It’s his of nearly forty years, who keeps everyone in line.

keeps a pretty good eye on me, she on me,” Rogers says. been almost 40 years; we have guns: I taught her to and we haven’t killed each yet.”

Rogers’ travels cover quite the wide of his Navy days: “We’d get people in the Bug (in Rhode Island), put ice in the back, and by the time you get to New York you’re ready to drive there,” he says.

With and Bonnie, in his ’73 Bug, the Birdman gets around in this

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Military Highlight: Bun Gladieux

It was the of the Cold War, and Bernard Gladieux and his fellow midshipmen trolling for Russian submarines off of the coast.  The Communists had using fishing boats as for their spying activities, and it was the lieutenant’s job to find them and spy on in return.

Living on a destroyer in the North Atlantic was a far cry from Scarsdale, New York, where had grown up.  Bun, the eldest of brothers and the son of career federal Bernard (also “Bun”) Sr. and his wife, Persis, Gladieux had a life of relative privilege in the suburb of New York City.

was like any other teenager a stone’s-throw away from the that never sleeps, and much of his free time the train into Manhattan his friends.  Only when he 17 did he get serious about going to and when the time had come to a decision, he had only two schools in  Oberlin, his father’s alma the prestigious Harvard.

Oberlin, said, was a shoo-in but Harvard a little more daunting.  “I it would be expensive and my folks have quite a debt with four boys to put college,” he said.  When discovered that the Navy would avail him of a full ride through the school’s years, he jumped at the opportunity.

into Harvard and the ROTC proved successful and, his path now laid, Gladieux much of his post-high school traveling and visiting with his who were preparing to spend two in the Philippines where Bun, Sr. take his latest post.  It long before fall and, after Gladieux’s had departed for Manila, he made his way to and settled into college

The long winter and a lonely year at school eventually to the summer months and Gladieux’s to ROTC.  So it was in mid-1956 when found himself on a destroyer out across the Atlantic.  There, he met men across the nation, including a fellow by the name of Roger  Chaffee, the senior midshipman, and became fast friends and Chaffee asked Gladieux to be his officer.  “It meant I out his orders—I was number two man,” said.

(Years later, Gladieux deeply lament the loss of his friend, who perished along fellow astronauts Gus Grissom and Ed during a pre-launch test for the 1 mission.)

While at sea, the men trained in shooting torpedoes and aspects of life in the Navy, making ports of call the world.  “It was a great to be at sea,” Gladieux said. when he was forced to get up in the middle of the for watch duty did Gladieux say his was tested.  “You got extremely getting bounced around in the all day.”

Throughout his summers at Gladieux would board a destroyer and head out to sea.  It was on destroyers—or “black shoes” as were known—that most military officers worked becoming admirals.  Gladieux was the military ladder, and, by the of his graduation from Harvard in Gladieux—now “real” navy—was a lieutenant and in charge of a division of 35 men, including some petty officers.

It was also this time that sought leave to marry his Sally Francis, whom he had met a midshipman. After marrying, the set up house in a small but adequate near the naval base in Florida.  In short order, Renee and son “Bunky” were  By this time, Gladieux had ordered into shipyard where he was glad to be stateside and his growing family.

After two in the shipyard, Gladieux took a assignment to the Navy Hospital in where he acted as counsel for and sick veterans who were seeking to get back into or out of the  Discovering his penchant for problem-solving, and he would soon be leaving the Gladieux applied for, and a job as a budget examiner in the Office of and Budget in Washington, D.C.

were the Kennedy years, a time for young people and working in Washington, DC.  Excitement and filled the air, and Gladieux at OMB.  Sadly, those were short-lived.  Gladieux was at the OMB a mere three months Kennedy was assassinated.  Days Gladieux found himself on the North Portico of the White watching unbelievably as Kennedy’s cortege passed by.

While labels his naval career as he admits his experience in the military his life. “It helps you to grow up and helps you to cope with the of leadership… learn exactly leadership really means.”

he didn’t serve during war something Gladieux says thankful for, he remains  “You take what’s  Everyone’s prepared to go to war and do it honorably, and you hope that you would the same courage in battle others have shown you.”

Today, far from the of the Navy and the glitz of life in Gladieux and his children operate a family business in Gilbertsville. He pleasure in working on his homestead, in his grandchildren, and bike-riding through the surrounding Boyertown and Oley. He and Sally, recently celebrated 52 of marriage.

Honoring Our Veterans: Dave

By Lynn A. Gladieux

With passing year, the Vietnam War further into the annals of Many of us recognize it only vintage footage replayed on our screens.

But, for Boyertown Dave Ellis, the war in Vietnam was his moment—the event that shaped his life and future.

military builds your Ellis says. “…And it build your personality,

Ellis enlisted in The United Navy in 1965, immediately graduation from Boyertown High School. It was a year in the war was heating up combat troops hitting the ground in Vietnam, and was looking forward to the opportunity to his country.

Ellis was sent to the Station in Great Lakes for camp. He had decided to be an electrician, hoping to work on naval and, after boot he was sent to the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida, for a year of training. After completing his Ellis was sent to NAS Miramar, of the Navy’s elite TOPGUN training school.

At Miramar, was consigned to work on state-of-the-art aircraft, many of which designed to simulate Russia’s MiG The planes had two identical cockpits, one for the and one for the student, and Ellis’s job, as electrician, was to calibrate the instruments in

The electrical shop personnel largely responsible for keeping the operational, and Ellis worked a team of electrical specialists. It was this time that had elevated to an E-5 pay grade, the highest he climb during his four-year He had also qualified to fly backseat “test hops” of the aircraft.

proved to be a pivotal year for the with war protests overtaking American cities. Soldiers from Vietnam were with hate speech and while many others who had “in country” weren’t returning at Elli, who never saw combat, with the loss of friends and “I was fortunate not to be in the fighting, but I lost than a few buddies,” he said. made the decision not to re-enlist, in October of 1969, his career in the ended.

After the service, settled back into life. He began working for Airlines (later U.S. and, in September 1972, his schoolmate, Sandra Fay. He to work as a receiver at Redner’s in Pottstown, and spends much of his time working with groups.

He is particularly proud of his with American Legion 471 Charles B. Yerger, of which been a member since Ellis, now an honorary life has held every office in the and he and his father, an Army veteran who in World War II. are the only father/son to have held the position of Ellis has also been Vietnam Veterans 131, for many years.

Ellis the government for closing military he says, that could be as housing for military families and veterans, of which he says are many. “These bases, the country, are like mini-cities. You all of these different veterans different talents, and they government] could give a job and a place to live on the base.”

of his service, Ellis, now 65, would to see his country do more for veterans and be responsive to the needs of soldiers from active duty. “I think this country is enough for veterans,” he said. kids go over there and are for their country, willing to the ultimate sacrifice, and when come back they are apart. Our legislators have got to do a more.”

Military Highlight: May 2012

Our Military, Both Past and

By Lynn A. Gladieux

Lance Matthew McHugh’s refueling was loaded with 1,400 of fuel as he tailed his convoy the sandy streets of central The weight of his truck was making difficult, and McHugh was falling

As he crested a small hill, spied his convoy and realized he was than 100 meters off course. It was in next seconds that the came, filling the dark with dust and debris and the truck in tatters.

Thankfully, escaped virtually unharmed, as did his Marines, but the exploding IED had made its He knew he was in dangerous territory and he was lucky to be alive, yet he was determined to on with his duties as the soldier and he was trained to be.

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For McHugh, this was but day at the office, dirty and dangerous as it War was no fun, and he was right in the middle of it, but the Boyertown grad always he wanted to be a Marine, and in many he was now living out his dream.

“I always I wanted to be a Marine. I wanted to set apart—to do something different my life,” he said. “I just to play a role.”

In preparation for active duty, McHugh his senior year at Boyertown in the program. “Master Sergeant prepped me—he taught me so McHugh says. Shortly graduation, McHugh enlisted in the and, by July of that was headed to boot camp in Island, South Carolina.

camp, McHugh soon out, was where Marines are “Boot camp was the hardest I’d ever done. I was broken mentally, and emotionally,” McHugh “It was an awakening.”

McHugh survived camp and came out a Private Class, a rank he had earned in He was then sent to motor school and, shortly his 19th birthday, McHugh himself “boots on the ground” in driving a refueling truck in the of the war zone. “I was a little nervous,” he I was a new Marine driving a refill into a war zone. It was a little

McHugh found life in tough, but tough situations what he was trained for. on the ground to discover there was no water, there were no and no there was no electricity was not surprising, the desert environment and the conditions in at the time. But more frightening not getting a good night’s were the inherent and deadly of war.

“I stayed away thinking about all the possibilities, if you thought about it too much, it send you over the edge,” said. “You just did job and kept your mind on going on in front of you.”

said complacency was the real “You couldn’t get complacent and not about the security or the job. We always worried about and mines… there were a lot of to worry about.”

McHugh ultimately served two and spent over 15 months in And that, he decided, it was enough. “I my unit would be going to Iraq over and over he said. “I had pushed my luck too in that country, and didn’t my third tour to be my third So when the time came to McHugh decided to end his service to the

Lance Corporal Matthew refueling truck was loaded 1,400 gallons of fuel as he his convoy through the sandy of central Iraq. The weight of his was making driving difficult, and was falling behind.

As he crested a hill, McHugh spied his and realized he was more than 100 off course. It was in those next that the explosion came, the dark cabin with and debris and leaving the truck in

Thankfully, McHugh escaped unharmed, as did his fellow Marines, but the IED had made its impact. He knew he was in territory and that he was lucky to be yet he was determined to carry on with his as the soldier and Marine he was trained to be.

For this was but another day at the office, and dangerous as it was. War was no fun, and he was in the middle of it, but the 2003 Boyertown always knew he wanted to be a and in many ways he was now living out his

“I always knew I wanted to be a I wanted to set myself apart—to do different with my life,” he “I just wanted to play a

In preparation for entering active McHugh spent his senior at Boyertown in the NJROTC program. Sergeant McClellan prepped taught me so much,” McHugh Shortly before graduation, enlisted in the Marines and, by of that year, was headed to camp in Paris Island, Carolina.

Boot camp, soon found out, was Marines are made. “Boot was the hardest thing I’d ever I was broken physically, mentally, and McHugh said. “It was an awakening.”

survived boot camp and out a Private First Class, a he had earned in camp. He was then to motor transportation school shortly after his 19 th birthday, found himself “boots on the in Iraq, driving a refueling in the heart of the war zone. “I was a little he admits. I was a new Marine driving a truck into a war zone. It was a unnerving.”

McHugh found in Iraq tough, but tough were what he was trained Getting on the ground to discover was no running water, there no beds, and no there was no electricity was not considering the desert environment and the in Iraq at the time. But more than not getting a good sleep were the inherent and dangers of war.

“I stayed from thinking about all the because if you thought about it too it could send you over the McHugh said. “You did your job and kept your on what’s going on in front of

McHugh said complacency was the enemy. “You couldn’t get and not think about the security or the We were always worried IED’s and mines… there a lot of things to worry about.”

McHugh ultimately served two and spent over 15 months in And that, he decided, it was enough. “I my unit would be going to Iraq over and over he said. “I had pushed my luck too in that country, and didn’t my third tour to be my third So when the time came to McHugh decided to end his service to the

Military Highlight: April

Recognizing Our Military, Both and Present

By Lynn A. Gladieux

since he was a young boy, Gant knew he wanted to be a The 2004 Boyertown alumnus had a focus and passion that he pursued.

“Ever since I was 12, I I wanted to be in the military,” he said. “I had thought about college or kind of job I wanted to get after school. It had always been the for me.”

Gant, at 26, already has a history with the military. serving in Naval Junior Officer Training Corps in high school, Gant in United States Marine at age 17, before his senior year.

said he chose the Marines for reasons, but in particular because of an family member. “My Uncle was a Marine, and I had always looked up to Gant said. “Frankly, I’m not sure why I picked the Marines, I didn’t do any research on the other I just went to the Marine recruiting office and knew it was for me.”

The member of a large, family, Gant proudly that many of his family have served in the military, his grandfather and several uncles. his brother-in-law, Byran Barnhart, is serving as a Marine in Afghanistan.

the rank of Sergeant, Gant has eight years on active and has been deployed to Iraq times. As an Advanced Engineer Equipment Systems technician, he is to deploy to the 10 th Marine Regiment, at LeJuene, North Carolina, month.

The son of Richard and Barbara of Boyertown, Gant has one sister, Konnick, and is married to Ashton (Barnhart). They have one 12 months old, named

The recipient of 12 personal awards, several letters of commendation and medals for meritorious service, recently reenlisted for another two When asked why he wants to to serve, his answer was quick and “I love what I do in the Marine I love being a Marine.”

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