ELYSBURG — The sky over this Northumberland County community was filled with patriotism Sunday afternoon as members of the All Veteran Parachute Team (AVPT) displayed the American and Marine Corps flags in honor of disabled veteran David Noblit.
Cheers erupted from the crowd of residents, dignitaries and veterans as they watched AVPT founder and President Michael Elliott land on a grassy field at Ralpho Township Community Park. He was immediately followed by four members of the AVPT, including Luke Conner displaying the Marine Corps flag and Mario Rivera with a flag representing Yuengling Brewery, a major sponsor of the event.
As Elliott was descending he was thinking of Noblit, an Elysburg resident and graduate of Line Mountain High School who lost both his legs and suffered a severe injury to his left arm in an IED blast on Oct. 20, 2010, at Patrol Base Fulod, Afghanistan.
“I want to walk up to our brothers like Dave and salute him and tell him thanks. Because we, as veterans, understand each other,” said Elliott, who has tandem jumped thousands of times and with people such as former President George W. Bush Sr.
Noblit was unable to tandem jump, as previously announced, because the vest ordered wasn’t up to safety standards, but Elliott vowed to come back in 2021 and skydive with Noblit as a “much bigger and mask-free” crowd looks on.
“It’s hard to even find a word that would describe what this means to me. Our young American heroes, like Dave, sacrificed so much for our freedom,” Elliott said after presenting Noblit with an American flag. “I know the world is in a bad position, with the pandemic, but, you know, we are overcoming (and) we are pushing through.”
Elliott, who skydived at last year’s 100th All Home Days celebration, said he was impressed with how much patriotism and kindness the Elysburg community showed toward veterans. After being notified that this year’s All Home Days was canceled because of the pandemic, he felt the need to give back to local service members, veterans and first responders.
Noblit said he felt a sense of pride as he watched the AVPT display the American and Marine Corps flags over his community.
“We do live in the best nation in the world. The freedom that we have is second to none,” Noblit said while surrounded by fellow Marines. “With them doing this for me, it’s just amazing.”
Noblit, who was honored in 2016 by Homes for Our Troops with a new home along Heartland Boulevard in Elysburg, described the community as amazing. He said the patriotism and respect given to the AVPT last year caused the group to return.
“If you haven’t been in the boots, it’s just something you won’t understand it, it’s a brotherhood like no other,” Noblit said of next year’s jump with the fellow veteran. “I definitely miss it. I was blown up in 2010, so since then I’ve definitely been looking for that brotherhood again.”
Dignitaries in attendance included Ralpho Township Supervisors Blaine Madara Jr. and Dan Williams, U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser and Northumberland County Commissioner Joseph Klebon.
“In place of having All Home Days and the veterans’ event, this turnout here is fantastic, especially when people come out and get together a little bit and see something patriotic on Labor Day weekend,” said Klebon, whose father and uncles served in the armed forces. “During the current climate of our country, it’s great to do something patriotic, especially for our veterans who sacrifice so much out of their lives to serve our country.”
Later Sunday evening the AVPT conducted a second jump that featured a pyrotechnic display. Dozens of people applauded and cheered as sparklers appeared from the feet of the jumpers, who eventually landed at Glenn Herring Memorial Field.
Both events were sponsored by a private group, including Rep. Kurt Masser, R-107, and local veterans J.P. Marinari, Clint Herr and Dick Knoebel.
MOUNT CARMEL — A 9/11 memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday at the flag poles outside Clover Hose Co. on East Sixth Street.
“Despite the pandemic that exists, we feel it’s important to remember the victims and heroes who died in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, at the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon and Shanksville,” said Mayor Philip “Bing” Cimino. “It’s something we can never forget. The events of Sept. 11, 2001, touched so many lives and continue to do so today.”
Thursday’s ceremony will begin with the national anthem and the raising of the American flag. Taps will be played and the flag will be lowered to half staff. The raising of the fire department and EMS flags and the placement of a wreath at the flag poles will follow.
Shortly after, the “Striking of the Four Fives,” known throughout the fire service, and a blessing of emergency service personnel by the Rev. Joan Brown will be held.
Parking and traffic restrictions will be in effect from 4 to 6 p.m. on Sixth Street from Apple to Oak streets.
Cimino urged everyone who plans to attend the 9/11 memorial service to wear masks and maintain social distancing.
Additional information about the event can be obtained by calling Cimino at 570-339-5113.
SHAMOKIN — A large fight in the 400 block of South Shamokin Street on Saturday resulted in two people being hospitalized.
Police from multiple municipalities responded to the scene after a fight involving about 20 people was reported at 5:49 p.m. Two people were transported to Geisinger-Shamokin Area Community Hospital in separate ambulances from AREA Services after reportedly being injured in the melee.
Officers from Shamokin, Coal Township, Kulpmont, Ralpho Township and Zerbe Township were summoned to break up the fight.
Police were called back to the same area at 6:35 p.m. for another disturbance and remained at the scene for about an hour.
Multiple charges are pending relating to the initial fight as Shamokin police are continuing their investigation.
No other details were released by police.
COAL TOWNSHIP — A township man remained in critical condition Monday night as a result of a commercial vehicle accident Saturday morning on state Route 901 between Ranshaw and Excelsior.
Coal Township police reported Brandan Schoeneberger, 32, of 207 Main St., Ranshaw, had to be extricated from a 2001 Freightliner FedEx box van that traveled about 40 feet into a wooded area at 11:40 a.m.
The van, which is owned by T. Rosey Inc., of New Philadelphia, was traveling west toward Ranshaw, about two-tenths of a mile east of Industrial Park Road, when it traveled into the opposing lane, which was within a passing zone.
The van returned to the westbound lane, left the roadway and mounted the guardrail for more than five sections, according to police.
It then traveled down the embankment and impacted several trees, causing the driver’s side of the van to split open and spill multiple packages.
Coal Township Assistant Fire Chief Mike Timco said Schoeneberger was partially ejected from the vehicle.
He added that firefighters were able to push down portions of the vehicle and brush in order to bring the victim to the roadway.
Timco said it was fortunate there was a witness to the incident because the vehicle was obstructed by the dense embankment and may have gone unnoticed.
Emergency medical personnel from AREA Services transported Schoeneberger to a Life Flight helicopter, which landed in a grassy area near the Anthra Plaza.
He was flown to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, where he was listed in critical condition Monday night by a nursing supervisor.
The van sustained extensive damage and was pulled from the wooded area by Dave’s Auto Body. A supervisor from FedEx and two transportation trucks arrived to remove the packages.
Route 901 was closed from the former Boylan’s Garage to Ranshaw for 2 1/2 hours until the scene was cleared.
First responders who reported to the scene included officers from Coal Township, Shamokin, Kulpmont and Mount Carmel Township, personnel from the Coal Township Fire Department, and fire police from Coal Township, Mount Carmel and Mount Carmel Township.