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Local parish welcomes home two troops who served overseas

By: Kerri Corrado


Nothing but American pride filled the St. Francis Xavier Parish hall in Cresson.

"It is heart-warming to come home to a greeting like this, that is the best way I can describe it," said Sgt. Terry Zavada, who recently returned from deployment in Afghanistan.

The parish welcomed home two of its very own who served overseas: Zavada and the parish priest, Lt. Comm. Leo Arnone, who served the United States Naval Central Command as Chaplin.

As Chaplin, Arnone visited ship to ship and offered reconciliation and counseling to the troops.

"It is very important. The biggest thing I find is most of them want to be back home and miss the comfort of having family and friends nearby," Arnone said.

Sister Mary Joseph, who is the Parish secretary, said Father Arnone sent emails explaining his experiences wile still offering words of comfort to his congregation.

A special welcome home was planned full of videos, food and students offering handmade cards.

"It is kind of humbling. We do our job. Its what we signed up to do and the amount of gratitude they show is kind of amazing," Zavada said.


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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times