A JEM is Venerating Veterans
by Cate Murway
"To be killed in war is not the worst that can happen. To be lost is not the worst that can happen... to be forgotten is the worst." -Pierre Claeyssens [1909-2003], architect of WWII Terminal Island Liberty ships
For generations, the military has stood and continue to stand for us!
As long as there is a United States of America we will never forget their sacrifices.
National Wreaths Across America Day is this Saturday, December 14, 2013 at Noon. It’s not too late. You can still honor veterans in your local community by sponsoring a wreath that will be placed on a veteran’s grave.
Actions speak so much louder than words and Villa Joseph Marie senior, Lucy M. Hritzo is determined to remember the fallen heroes who gave up their tomorrows with family and loved ones, ensuring that we can enjoy our todays.
The Villa students are monikered JEMS. Lucy [meaning “light”] is a true JEM, in action, not in name only. She is prepared to make a difference in the world; at least her corner of it, by mastering her time management skills and making the world a better place, with great efficiency.
Lucy began her lifetime adventure in Girl Scouts 13 ½ years ago as a Daisy in the St. Bede the Venerable School troop. She is currently creating a sustainable solution to a concern and leaving a community legacy while earning the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. Lucy’s older sisters, Molly K., VJM ‘08 and Bernadette A., VJM‘11, as well as their youngest sister, Jacqueline F, VJM ’19 are all Girl Scouts. Their mother, Diann Hritzo and Mrs. Denise Giaccio are co-leaders of Troop # 21208, GS of Eastern PA. Jillian Alyssa Giaccio, VJM ’14 is part of Lucy’s skillful team, extraordinary efforts by extraordinary girls, dedicated to beautifying the Washington Crossing National Cemetery. Lucy's cherished mentors are Mrs. Sonia Foderaro, Girl Scout Head Council, and WCNC Guardian, Mr. Gabriel Mascio.
Lucy attentively identified a need, investigated it, created a simple, sustainable, long-lasting plan for the future, formed a support team, and submitted her Project Proposal Form idea to the Girl Scout Council for approval. She will need to present her completed project, along with a scrapbook containing the time line schedule and pictures, documenting her progress, to the Girl Scouts Executive Board to earn her Gold Award.
“It’s quite a long process. The Eagle Scout is more well known but not many stay in the Girls Scouts and achieve this award. It’s quite a prestigious award and it’s helped me grow as a person.”
She chose the Washington Crossing National Cemetery because she wanted to love and honor the veterans. “It’s quite a project and an honor to help here.”
In 2008, the Department of Veterans Affairs purchased the property from Dolington Land, L.P. and the cemetery was formally dedicated in 2009.
Lucy is committed to beautifying and maintaining this area to reflect the honor and respect held for our Nation's Veterans, and preserve the dignity and solemnity of their final resting place.
The National Cemetery needed beautification and color, and a place to sit.
Her strategy included purchasing three sturdy, durable and relatively maintenance-free metal benches, as well as sprucing up the main highest part of the memorial park, the flagpole area.
The beautification involved digging two flower beds and maintaining the flowers and bulbs for two years.
“I have worked 160 hours on this project alone.”
She coordinated Applebees Flapjack fundraisers last November, securing sufficient monies for one steel bench. The $1500 weather-proof benches with standards set by the National Cemetery are exact replicas of those already positioned in the quiet, dignified, roofed, open -air Committal Service Shelter pavilions.
Concrete pads will hold the benches under the trees by Wall 1, Wall 4 and Wall 7.
Two of the benches have been donated; one by VFW Post 8 and Commander Dennis R. Bicking, and the other by the VFW Post 8 Ladies Auxiliary member, Mrs. Kate Helsman, in honor of her beloved husband, Army veteran, Donald Boyd Helsman [1946-2012].
Lucy has diligently planted flowers and 400 bulbs, worth well over $600.00, using her own funds earned as the St. Bede Parish part-time receptionist. She began with a variety of pansies and mums. The first lesson! After some research, her flower beds included daffodils, because she learned that the deer do not eat them.
During the draught last summer, she carted water bottles to hydrate her plants when she realized that the sprinklers were broken.
Another lesson learned! The color-rich annual, Vinca, is beautiful like impatiens, but is draught resistant and will tolerate a wide variety of conditions.
Girl Scouting builds courage, confidence, and character and with her Gold Award project, Lucy is learning to work along with the government and flowers, as well as people.
“I love what Girl Scouts stands for. I am an Ambassador Girl Scout now and it’s not the badge but what I have learned in the process. Girl Scouting helps me see things in a different way. I learned I can do anything to help change the world, and communicate and lead a team to accomplish this.” There is fun, friendship, and power in working together.
Her team of volunteers includes classmates, Giovanna Falco, VJM ‘14 and Olivia Solley, VJM ’14.
“Lucy is passionate about what she is doing”, shared team member, Jillian Giaccio, who will soon be working on her own Gold Award, related to literacy.
Lucy Hritzo is a well rounded, multi talented, humble young lady with great role models, her parents, Diann and James Edward Hritzo.
“I admire my mom’s strength and selflessness. She is really a genius and puts herself aside to help others. My dad is really patient and supports us in everything we do from the kindness of his heart.”
“Science Fair is a huge part of my life.” This is Lucy’s third year working on her Lyme disease project and how it affects the brain. She was awarded a scholarship to the University of the Sciences.
Her classes include AP Biology, AP Literature, and AP Government & Politics.
“I love Villa. I feel like it is my home. Yes, there’s a lot of work but I love it.”
She is also an NHS member, Vice President of the Tri-M Music Honor Society, manager/statistician of the Track teams, President of the Photography Club and a member of the Liturgical choir, the VJM choir and the Archdiocesan Adult and Girls’ Choirs. She has mastered several instruments, including the bass clarinet, alto and tenor sax, the soprano clarinet and the viola. Her favorite? “I love my bass clarinet”.
Lucy will pursue a double major in Biology and Theology, then Medical School to be a Trauma Surgeon.
She and the VJM choir, directed by Miss Alissa Coapman, will be singing this Saturday at noon during the “Wreaths Across America” program in the 205-acre Washington Crossing National Cemetery.
It is located on land that William Penn deeded to Euro-American settlers in 1698, used as farmland for centuries.
Guardians of the National Cemetery will take over watching Lucy’s projects when she leaves for college.
Her personal goal is that there is always a beautiful place to reflect.
“I will always make sure that there are flowers.”
Recommend a “Spotlight”. E-mail email@example.com
Donald Boyd Helsman
(November 15, 1946 - January 5, 2012)
Donald Boyd Helsman, of Morrisville, died on Thursday, January 5, 2012
at Aria Hospital Bucks County. He was 65.
Born in Brookings, South Dakota, Donald has been a long time resident of Lower Bucks County.
He was a 1964 graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School where he played basketball, baseball and golf.
Donald retired from Freedom Greeting Cards.
He was an Army veteran of the Vietnam era. He was a member of the John Billington VFW Post #6495 and the American Legion Post #834
Donald was the beloved soul mate of Katie (his Irish lady) for 22 years.
He was the father of Bethann (Michael) Marciano, Kevin (Arzu) Helsman, Jamey (Steffanie) Helsman, Randy Helsman and Sharon Helsman.
He will be sadly missed by his sister Carol Coates, his niece Lynn (Simon) Morris, cousins Donna (Lombard) Jensen and Norma Kay, many grandchildren, cousins and friends and especially his loyal friend and companion Austin.
Family and friends are invited to call on Wednesday from 9:00 until 11:00 a.m. at the James J. Dougherty Funeral Home, Inc., 2200 Trenton Rd., Levittown where his funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Interment will follow in Washington Crossing National Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the John Billington VFW Post #6495, 16705 Haines Road, Levittown, PA 19055.
Girl Scout Gold Project Bench Dedication Ceremony, hosted by Ambassador Girl Scout Award and John Fisher 2014 Citizen Scholar recipient, Lucy M. Hritzo, VJM ’14, was held at the Washington Crossing National Cemetery on Friday, June 13, 2014.
Jillian Alyssa Giaccio, VJM ’14, part of Lucy’s extraordinarily skillful team, also proved her dedication to beautifying the WCNC.
The JEMS [Villa Joseph Marie students are monikered JEMS] in Troop # 21208, GS of Eastern PA, actively model, with much patriotic zeal, exactly what’s good about America.
The team beautification strategy included purchasing three sturdy, durable and relatively maintenance-free metal benches, a place for visiting veterans and their families to rest.
Mission accomplished. Fundraisers were scheduled and sufficient monies were secured.
The $1500 weather-proof benches with standards set by the National Cemetery are exact replicas of those already positioned in the quiet, dignified, roofed, open-air Committal Service Shelter pavilions.
Concrete pads will hold the benches under the trees by Wall 1, Wall 4 and Wall 7.
Two of the benches were donated; one by VFW Post 8 and Commander Dennis R. Bicking, and the other by the VFW Post 8 Ladies Auxiliary member, Mrs. Kate Helsman, in honor of her beloved husband, Army veteran, Donald Boyd Helsman [1946-2012].
Congressman Michael Fitzpatrick attended the ceremony, gave an inspiring speech, and sincerely commended Lucy and her team for their efforts.
John Fisher 2014 Citizen Scholar: Villa Joseph Marie
Sunday, June 15, 2014
They are the best and brightest, high school graduates who not only excel in the classroom but also in the community. Here are the 2014 John Fisher Citizen Scholars, selected from outstanding seniors throughout the community.
Community service: A Girl Scout, she earned the Gold Award; more than 400 hours of community service; helped with Gold Project to benefit Washington Crossing National Cemetery; participated in Wreaths Across America; church lector; youth mentor in music; cross country and track; St. Bede’s volunteer; helped for three years with Bike the Basin.
Counselor's comments: Her academic mastery and personal excellence have earned her many accolades and the respect of peers, faculty and administration. She has a passion for learning and is fully involved in her school and community. Her kindness and compassion is evident in all she does.