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Vietnam statue will be on display Thursday

Veterans of the Vietnam War are being asked to lend a hand in finishing a bronze statue honoring one of the county’s Medal of Honor recipients.

The sculptor of the clay model statue of Everett-native Robert Hartsock and his military dog, Duke, said Vietnam Veterans will have an opportunity to place their thumbprints into the base of the statue.

“It’s a special way to honor them,” said Wayne Hyde of Manns Choice. “They will have their prints cast in bronze for generations to come and see.”

Hyde has been working on the clay model of Hartsock for more than a year. The 7 1/2-foot statue will be on display for the public at the Bedford Elks Country Club 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday night.

Veterans who served on active duty between 1964 and 1975 will be able to place their thumbprints during the event. Hyde said those who cannot attend Thursday night will be able to place their prints while the model statue is on display at the Bedford County Visitors Center for the next several months.

When finished, the statue set to be placed on Bedford County’s Veterans Grove in Bedford.

Hartsock, a 1962 Everett High School graduate, was killed in action on Feb. 23, 1969, while saving the life of his platoon commander at Dau Tieng, Vietnam. For his actions, Hartsock was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

A staff sergeant in the Army stationed in Vietnam, Hartsock and his platoon commander noticed an enemy squad was coming toward the brigade tactical operations center and prisoner compound and opened fire on them as they approached, according to military records.

A wounded enemy soldier detonated a satchel charge that he was carrying. Sgt. Hartsock threw himself on the charge and was badly injured. Severely wounded, Hartsock managed to crawl about five meters where he provided heavy suppressive fire and pinned down the enemy so his commander could seek shelter, according to the medal citation. Hartsock continued shooting until he succumbed to his wounds.

Hyde said he appreciated the opportunity to sculpt the statue of Hartsock. He said the Vietnam War began when he was six-years-old and was a memorable part of his childhood.

“I grew up with Vietnam,” he said.

Hyde said he remembers neighbors and relatives enlisting during the war.

“This is very meaningful to me,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to honor people I knew.”

The statue started with a miniature model that was used to make a full-sized rough styrofoam model using a 3D printer. Hyde then finished carving the model and used between a quarter to three-quarter inches of clay as an outer shell.

“I had to get it to look like what I wanted it to look like,” he said.

The other pieces in the statue, including a canteen and a rifle, were made separately then added.

The clay model will eventually be taken to a foundry in Montana, where it will be cut into pieces and used to make rubber molds.

“They create a giant jigsaw puzzle,” Hyde said.

Wax will be poured into the rubber molds and those wax models will then be coated in a ceramic shell. The new shell will be fired in a kiln, which will melt away the wax and leave a hollow mold for the molten bronze to be poured.

Once the bronze pieces are created, the statue will be welded back together, retouched and will undergo a controlled oxidation for color.

Hyde said the finished statue will weigh about 1,200 pounds.

It will cost more than $100,000 to produce the bronze statue. Dennis Tice of the “League of Pretty Good Guys” said earlier this month that fundraising efforts will likely take more than a year.

Hyde said he will continue to study the clay model during that time, making any adjustments he believes are needed.


—Photo Submitted  

Pictured is the clay model of a statue of Everett-native Robert Hartsock and his military dog, Duke. Hartsock was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor after he was killed in action in February 1969 in Vietnam.


News
Shoemaker to forgo retirement , will remain principal next year

Max

Shoemaker

FISHERTOWN—The Chestnut Ridge School Board voted to keep Max Shoemaker as the district’s high school principal for a little longer.

The board voted unanimously Tuesday on the agreement to forgo Shoemaker’s retirement at the end of the school year to remain as high school principal for a 180-day period during the 2019-20 school year.

Shoemaker has spent nearly four decades in education, just over 15 as principal and 12 with the Chestnut Ridge School District.

The board also approved:

— To send Josh Lasure and eleven Forensics students went to Bloomsburg University for the State competition on March 15 and 16 at an approximate cost $944.

—The expulsion of a student with parent-assisted outside placement at cyber academy for up to a period of 1 year dated from March 7 through March 7, 2020.

—The resignation of Angela Wyles as assistant coach for varsity volleyball.

—The resignation of Greg Lazor as head varsity wrestling coach.

—The employment of Brandy Neatrour as a full-time secretary for the special education department as well as the memorandum with CRESP regarding the Special Education Secretary.

—Revised job descriptions for the assistant high school principal, middle school principal and the director of curriculum and instruction.


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Murder suspect pleads guilty to lesser charges

A Maryland man facing homicide charges in the 2017 death of a Maryland man in Cumberland Valley Township pleaded guilty to lesser charges on Tuesday.

Devonta D. Gaines, 24, of Baltimore pleaded guilty to an amended first-degree felony count of aggravated assault and a second degree count of recklessly endangering another person.

Gaines was one of three people originally charged with homicide in the Aug. 4, 2017 death 50-year-old Gary W. Shriver Jr. of Cumberland, Maryland.

Heather R. Schade, 41, of Bedford and James A. Wallace, 31, of Randallstown, Maryland, both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder in the third degree in July.

The plea deal calls for sentencing to be open to the court. Judge Travis Livengood told Gaines he could be facing a maximum of 10 to 20 years on the aggravated assault charge, while the misdemanor carries a maximum sentence of one to two years.

Livengood in September sentenced Schade to serve 8 to 22 years in prison and Wallace to serve 10 to 20 years. The lengths of both sentences were agreed to through plea agreements.

District Attorney Lesley Childers-Potts said the cases against each of the three defendants had evidentiary issues, including the lack of a found murder weapon and credibility concerns with each of the defendants.

“I can’t say I’m satisfied with the outcome, but I do believe the plea was an appropriate outcome based on the evidence that was available in the case,” she said when discussing Gaines’ plea on Tuesday.

Shriver was brutally beaten, cut and stabbed in the area of Lake Gordon Road. An autopsy showed Shriver died of severe head trauma and stab wounds.

Childers-Potts said each of the defendants provided conflicting information about the case that was “self-serving.”

“Each one of them was pointing the finger at everyone else,” she said. “We didn’t have any large pieces of information from them that were substantially reliable.”

Childers-Potts said state police worked for months to investigate the case, obtaining search warrants in both Bedford County and Maryland, but the weapon used to kill Shriver was never found.

Assistant District Attorney Jonathan Thomas told Judge Travis Livengood during the plea hearing that Gaines in a more recent interview with police had admitted to physically assaulting Shriver the night of the incident, but did not admit to using a deadly weapon.

Livengood questioned Thomas about the dismissal of the homicide charge against Gaines coming after the plea deals accepted by Schade and Wallace.

“Part of the reason for the plea was the other two co-defendants’ belief (Gaines) was more culpable in the homicide,” the judge said. “Has that theory changed?”

Thomas said the evidence had changed following Gaines’ interview with police and his willingness to take a polygraph test.

“Based on the evidence the Commonwealth believes this is a just resolution,” Thomas said.

Childers-Potts had previously said there were many aspects of the cases against the defendants that law enforcement believed to be true but would have a difficult time proving beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury.

Shriver’s body was found down an embankment along Lake Gordon Road late at night. As police were investigating the scene, a vehicle driven by Wallace showed up from the north. Wallace attempted to flee but police were able to stop the vehicle.

Schade and Gaines were passengers in the vehicle, which had blood on it and contained numerous cleaning supplies, including towels, bleach, latex gloves and sponges.

Livengood scheduled Gaines’ sentencing for June 21.


Top of the Morning

Bedford County Regional Education Foundation will host a fundraiser.

The foundation will host Speak Out for Scholarships on March 30 from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Bedford Elks Country Club, 937 S. Richard St., Bedford. Ventriloquist Ian Varella will headline the event, which also features a silent auction. Tickets are $35 per person and must be purchased in advance by calling 652-9528, ext. 6223, or visiting the Allegany College of Maryland Bedford County Campus. A cash bar will be available. Doors open at 5 p.m., and dinner, catered by chef Nicole Kimmel, will be served at 6 p.m. For more information about the event or the foundation, call 652-9528 or email lpepple@allegany.edu.

The lieutenant governor’s visit is today.

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman will be at the American Legion Hall on Wednesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The hall is located at 3721 Business 220, Bedford. The visit will be a stop on his statewide “Listening Tour” to hear feedback about the possibility of legalizing recreational marijuana.


Obituaries
Deaths

Obituaries on Page A18

Boore, Harriet Jean Clapper, 96, of Bedford.

Brest, Lawrence “Larry” Daniel, 61, Johns-town.

Calvert, Doris Glenda Lue, 80, of Hyndman.

Clapper, John Robert, 64, of New Enterprise, died on Monday at UPMC Altoona Hospital. Obituary in Thursday’s Gazette. Arrangements by Akers Funeral Home Inc. Everett.

Effler, Jearl, of East Graceville Road, Breezewood, died on Tuesday, March 26, 2019, at home. Obituary in Thursday’s Gazette. Arrangements by Akers Funeral Home Inc., 299 Raystown Road, Everett, PA 15537. www.akersfuneralhome.com

Eicher, James Sr., 68, of Osterburg, died Tuesday. Obituary in a future edition of the Gazette. Arrangements are by Leslie-Miller Funeral Home, Claysburg.

Housel, Karen R. (Davis), 53, of Huntingdon.

Mock, David L., 52, of Alum Bank, died Monday. Arrangements by Jack H. Geisel Funeral Home Inc., Pleasantville.

Pepple, Donald P., 85, of Everett, Monday. Obituary in Thursday’s Gazette. Arrangements by Akers Funeral Home Inc. Everett.