HTSD honors, recognizes Veterans at annual Hampton Heroes event

Wednesday, November 13, 2019 | 12:02 PM

The Hampton Township School District recognized and honored veterans at the 20th annual Hampton Heroes event on Tuesday, Nov. 12. The event was hosted by the three Hampton elementary schools and held at Hampton Middle School.

The Hampton Heroes program has been an ongoing effort by the Hampton Township School District to recognize and honor veterans. To date, over 200 men and women who have served in the Armed Forces have been inducted into the program. This year, the District inducted six new members to its ranks.

The 2019 inductees are:

  • Joe Babik of Johnstown, Pa., served in the U.S. Navy as a Petty Officer 3rd Class during the Vietnam Conflict from 1966-69. Mr. Babik is a current member of the Catholic War Veterans Post 954, where he serves as treasurer. He also is a member of the Disabled American Veterans; Vietnam Veterans of America; the American Legion; Veterans of Foreign Wars; and Conemaugh Valley Veterans Association. He also performs military rituals and services with the Marine Corps League and places flags on gravesites of deceased veterans annually. His grandson has assisted him for the last two years with the flag duty. In 2015, he was inducted into the Cambria County Military Hall of Fame as a “Patriotic Family” because he had brothers who also served in the military. Mr. Babik has been married to his wife, Sue, for 44 years. Together, they have three children and five grandchildren. His hobbies include following all of the Pittsburgh sports teams, as well as local sports teams in the Johnstown area. He enjoys spending the majority of his time with his kids and grandkids.
  • Steve Bukovac of Pittsburgh, Pa., served in the U.S. Army as a Sergeant with the 83rd Infantry, Company L 329, during World War II. He was involved in three campaigns during the war: Ardennes (Battle of the Bulge), Rhineland and Central Europe. Mr. Bukovac is a retired truck driver for lumber yards. He is married to Barbara Bukovac. The couple has seven children: Bob, Diane, Janet, Steven, Terri, Mary and Joe.
  • Bernard Ignacic of Allison Park, Pa., served as a 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Army from February 1968 until May 1971. He served in the Vietnam Conflict from April 1969 until May 1970 as a Team Leader with Special Operations. He received the Combat Infantry Badge, the Bronze Star and two Army Commendation Medals for Valor. He is engaged to Darla Gerlach and has a daughter, Aimee, and a son, Matthew.
  • Frank Klatte, Sr. of Robinson Township, Pa., served as a Technician Fifth Grade (Model T Corporal) with the U.S. Army during World War II. He was in service for 42 months, spending six weeks in a combat zone around the Rhine River and Central Germany. His group helped to build bridges across the Rhine River. He raised his family of five children with his late wife, Jeanne, in the Wexford area. He now lives with his oldest son and daughter-in-law. He has five children, five grandchildren and four greatgrandchildren.
  • Raymond E. Lintner, of the Oakmont Hanna Health Center, served as a Corporal in the U.S. Marine Corp during World War II. Mr. Lintner served from 1942-45 in the Pacific Theater as part of the several campaigns, including: Bougainville Campaign, Guadalcanal Campaign, Guam and Solomon Islands. While serving, he contracted malaria and became very ill. He was sent back to California in 1945 for several months of recovery before being honorably discharged from service. He worked as a civil engineer for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for 30 years. His hobbies include woodworking, reading, hunting and genealogy. Along with his late wife, Pearle, he raised two children, Thomas and Joyce. He has one grandchild.
  • Harry Van Riper of Allison Park, Pa., served as an SP4 in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam Conflict. He was drafted in October 1967. Following basic training and advanced individual training, he was assigned to Fort Knox for Armored Personnel Training. He was sent to Vietnam in mid-April 1968, where he was assigned to the 1st Battalion of the 5th Mechanized Infantry, 25th Infantry Division. He was hit by an RPG rocket during the third offensive of Tet, and suffered serious injuries that resulted in the loss of his left arm. He had a 15 percent chance of survival following surgery for a collapsed lung. For their bravery during the conflict, his battalion received a Presidential Unit Citation. He and his wife, Susan, have lived in Hampton for more than 30 years. The Van Ripers volunteer with Serving Our Sentinels, where Mr. Van Riper is the Finance Officer and Mrs. Van Riper is in charge of food for fundraisers and oversees the Veterans Breakfast Club. Mr. Van Riper also volunteers at the VA and has taught in the Recovery Program and worked on the hospice floor. He is retired from the Community College of Allegheny County (2014).

A full breakfast was served to veterans and their guests prior to the event. Following breakfast, inductees were honored during a special ceremony, featuring guest speaker Spec. Connor Green of the U.S. Army.

Spec. Green, a Hampton alumnus, enlisted in the U.S. Army following graduation. He completed his basic training at Fort Benning, Ga., and was assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division in Fort Lewis, Wash. Following basic training, Spec. Green was deployed with the 4th Brigade 2nd Infantry Division 2nd Battalion 23rd Infantry Regiment, where he served as a SAW Gunner in Operation Enduring Freedom (2012-2013) in Southern Afghanistan. He is currently completing his final semester at Duquesne University. He will graduate in the spring with a degree in Secondary Education with a focus on Social Studies.