a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Heavily decorated for a veteran

A tiny library in southwestern Pennsylvania took the challenge seriously at a charity dinner tonight to decorate its table around a hero-themed book.

The Fredericktown Area Public Library staff actually brought its local hero to the affair and created a centerpiece shrine in his honor at the event to raise money for public libraries in Washington and Greene counties.

The overflowing assortment of old military uniforms, newspaper clippings and medals paid tribute to Ralph Natali, an 87-year-old who spent his decades-long career serving in the U.S. Navy and Air Force during World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars. His stuff overshadowed the table's book, Tom Brokaw's "The Greatest Generation," about the successful lives of select World War II veterans.

The entry blew away the competition at the event, which drew more than 300 people to Bella Sera by Greco's in Canonsburg. And so did Mr. Natali in his happening sport coat and mod shades.

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