WWII letter returned to veteran 70 years later

Lauren Warner
June 29, 2019 - 1:24 pm

Courtesy of Dreamstime

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A letter written more than 70 years ago was returned to the family of a World War II veteran this week.

A collection of letters were found years ago in St. Adalbert's Church in Glen Lyon, PA. Now two local women have made it their mission to return all of the WWII-era letters to the families of the service members who wrote them. 

This particular letter belongs to the great-niece of one of the veterans, Christine Leandri. After hearing a news story about the two women working to reconnect the letters with their families, Leandri found her great uncle's name on the list of veterans whose letters still hadn't found their home.

"I couldn't believe it," Leandri said in an interview with WNEP-16 News. "I tripled checked it. I knew it was him though. I knew he was from the Glen Lyon area. I just knew it."

Courtesy of WNEP16 News

Postmarked Christmas Day of 1944, the letter was written by Leandri's great uncle Chester Pish to St. Adalbert's. The church often sent care packages to deployed troops and, like many servicemembers at the time, Pish wrote the church a thank you note. 

"Just holding it," Leandri continued. "Just taking it out of the envelope. Just holding it, you felt 1944, you know. It's amazing. Reading it and then seeing his signature. I can't wait for him to see his own signature."

Leandri's great uncle Pish is still alive and she returned the letter to her 95-year-old great uncle at a family party. 

"It's the best Christmas ever, you know," Leandri said. "We're just so proud of what these men did and what these women are doing for these families and it's amazing."

Courtesy of WNEP16 News

For any families who have service members from the Glen Lyon area, here is a list of the veterans who still have letters that need to be returned:

Babskie, Robert; Bellini, August; Benkoski, Walter; Bolek, Michael; Bozimski, Edward; Bozinski, Sylvester; Borcki, Henry; Brozoski, John; Brutski, Walter; Bush, Albert; Butka, Albert; Butkuiewicz, Edward; Cheski, Max; Chnielak, Albert; Chmieleski, Henry; Dekutoski, Casmir; Dombroski, Gerard; Dombroski, Sygfried; Drozdienski, Joseph; Dudzinski, Joseph; Dudzinski, Walter; Fundelewicz, Leonard; Gembrusia, Stanley; Gionta, Quinto; Gorney, Walter; Guffrovich, Emory; Himilefski, Frank; Humphrey, Albert; Kaczmarek, Frank; Kaftanowicz, Stanley; Kalinowski, Leon; Kamieniecki, Frank; Kane, Norbert; Karcheski, Joseph; Kasnikowski, Joseph; Keyeck, Anthony; Keyeck, Stanley; Keyeck, Walter; Kleyps, Edward; Koas, Adolph; Kolakoski, Celia; Kornoski, Leonard; Koval, Joseph; Kovaleski, Albert; Kovaleski, Steven; Kowalski, John; Kowaleski, Clarence; Krauser, Leonard; Kriefski, Albert; Kriefski, Eugene; Kriefski, Sylvester; Krzywicki, John; Kwiatkowski, Ted; Lashinski, Joseph;  Laskowski, Joseph; Leshniak, Julius; Levulis, Josephine; Lucas, J.A.; Maxey, Albert; Meshinski, Joseph; Meyeski, Margaret; Miara, Chester; Mundgetski, Clem; Myefski, Edward; Namowicz, Edward; Namowicz, John; Nork, Edward; Noss, Alfred; Novak, Alvin; Novak, Barney; Novak, John; Novak, Ernest; Obidzinski, Chester; Olenginski, Henry; Omichinski, Chester; Omichinski, Ted; Ozechowski, Edward; Pawloski, Edmund; Pawloski, Joseph; Petchik, Edmund; Petchik, Leo; Piavis, George; Pish, Chester; Pish, John; Rachunas, John; Rachunas, Frank; Rasmus, Walter; Reno, Wadic; Ringawa, Walter; Robachinski, Fred; Robachinski, Stanley; Rokicki, Edmund; Rule, Chester; Ruminski, Thomas; Russin, Stanley; Sawetski, Jean; Schraeder, Raymond; Scott, Clemence; Shekletski, Zigmund; Shemanski, Clemence; Shemanski, Walter; Skouronski, Clem; Slupecki, Joseph; Smocarski, Edmund; Sobolewski, John; Stankiewicz, Stanley; Stopchinski, Stanley; Stopchinski, Ted; Strzalka, Chester; Strzalka, Frank; Strzalka, Joseph; Stuczynski, John; Stuczynski, Joseph; Sugalski, Paul; Supko, Joseph; Sweeney, Stanley; Talanowski, John; Tarnowicz, Edward; Terkoski, Ray; Terkoski, Sylvester; Tokarchik, Joseph, Trynoski, Joseph; Venslove, Adam; Vinicki, John; Voytkowski, John; Waclawski, Clem; Waclawski, Zigmund; Wintergrass, Frank; Wrona, Eugene; Wuchek, John; Wyda, Edward; Yacuboski, Stanley, Zakrzewski, Clem; Zaucha, Mitchell; Zawacki, Louis; Zawala, Chester; Zawala, Edward; Zawatski, Edward; Zawatski, Eugene.

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This story was originally published in December 2018.