Salem Memorial Day events announced

Vito Abruzzino

SALEM–This year’s Memorial Day observance in Salem includes two-time Purple Heart recipient and Vietnam Veteran Thomas Scahill of Salem as honorary marshal and Major Vito Abruzzino of the U.S. Air Force Reserve 910th Airlift Wing as speaker of the day.

Mel Lippiatt, president of the Salem Memorial and Patriotic Association, announced plans for Monday’s breakfast, the memorial service at the Village Green at 9 a.m., the procession at 10 a.m. and the Memorial Day service at 11 a.m. at Grandview Cemetery.

The Memorial Day observance begins with the breakfast for veterans involved in the services and invited guests at St. Paul School at 7:45 a.m., followed by the memorial service at 9 a.m. at the Village Green in front of the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce at the veterans memorial.

As honorary marshal, Scahill will raise the flag with assistance from Caryal and Daryal Emelo, members of the Salem Honor Guard. Rev. William Wilkins will serve as chaplain of the day and Salem Mayor John Berlin will lay a wreath at the memorial. The Salem Honor Guard will fire a rifle volley and buglers T.J. Pittman and Ethan Gill of the Salem High School Pride of Salem marching band will play “Taps.”

Units for the procession will assemble at 9:30 a.m. on South Broadway between State and Columbia before stepping out at 10 a.m. The route will travel east on State Street to Ohio Avenue by St. Paul Church, then travel south on Ohio Avenue to Franklin and travel southeast to Grandview Cemetery.

Thomas Scahill

For the service at the cemetery, VFW Post 892 Commander Doug Brannon will serve as president of the day. According to the schedule, Wilkins will give the invocation and benediction, the honorary marshal will participate in the Posting of the Colors and the Salem High School Pride of Salem marching band will play the “Star Spangled Banner” and other patriotic selections throughout the service. Buglers for “Taps” again will be Pittman and Gill from the Salem band.

The Salem High School Chamber Choir will sing “In Flanders Field” and Joe Tungate of Boy Scouts Troop 6 will recite the response to Flanders Field. Gabe Blissenbach of Boy Scouts Troop 6 will recite the Gettysburg Address. Mayor John Berlin will place a wreath and Salem student Gage Brannon will do a reading. The Salem Honor Guard will fire a rifle volley.

Lippiatt noted that the reason for Memorial Day is “to honor those that have fallen from all the conflicts and wars.”

He said the Salem Memorial & Patriotic Association has been involved in the community since 1928, in conjunction with all of the veterans organizations, and includes both veterans and citizens. He said preparing for the Memorial Day remembrance is a team effort.

Although they’ve never had to resort to a rain location in the past, he said if there’s rain, the service will be held at the KSU City Center and there will be no procession.

Scahill, a life member and past commander of Salem VFW Post 892, was born in Youngstown and graduated from Hubbard High School in 1964, enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps in November 1964 and being sent to Vietnam after basic training at Paris Island, S.C. He served with Golf Company 2nd Battalion 4th Marines and made a beach landing at Chu Li, Vietnam. He also served with India Company 3rd Battalion 7th Marines.

Scahill was awarded two Purple Hearts and sent to Great Lakes Hospital, then stationed at Great Lakes and discharged in November 1967. He enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve in 1970 and retired from the reserves after 26 years with a rank of Master Gunnery Sergeant.

Scahill graduated from the Salem Police officer one-year program and served with the Salem Police Auxiliary from 1982 to 2013. He graduated from a four-year industrial maintenance program and worked at Crane Deming for 35 years. His memberships include the Salem Honor Guard the past 20 years, life member of Salem AMVETS Post 45 and Provost Marshal, treasurer Salem Memorial and Patriotic Association, American Legion Post 56 member and treasurer, president of Chapter 40 Vietnam Veterans of Columbiana County and Columbiana County Veterans Service commissioner. He and his wife, Melody, have three children, 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Abruzzino, who resides in Perry Township with his wife Courtney and their daughter, serves as Deputy Staff Judge Advocate for the 910th Airlift Wing in Vienna, where he’s second in command of the station’s legal office and serves 2,000-plus Airmen, Marines, Sailors and civilians at the air station. He’s the legal advisor to senior military commanders, an ethics counselor, prosecutor and estate planner as directed. Serving at the pleasure of the Commander, he’s also been involved in the Thunder Over The Valley air show and community outreach programs. Prior to his time at the 910th, he served as senior defense counsel for Team 8, Tennessee Valley Region, 154th Legal Operations Detachment, Alexandria, Virginia.

Abruzzino’s military service began with the U.S. Army Reserves after high school, attending basic combat training at Fort Sill, Okla. in the summer of 2000 and joining the West Virginia University U.S. Army ROTC Battalion, commissioning out of the program in May 2004 after graduation. He received an educational delay to attend law school at WVU, graduating in 2007 and becoming active duty JAG Corps in 2008. He earned many awards and decorations, including the Meritorious Service Medal.

He also serves as an attorney with Harrington, Hoppe & Mitchell in Salem.


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