Veteran's Speaker Series
Second Saturday of Each Month

Join us the second Saturday of the month for presentations by military veterans. All ages are encouraged to attend.


Teresa Messineo

Saturday, January. 13, 2017
1:00 p.m.

Join us in welcoming local author Teresa Messineo. Copies of her novel The Fire By Night will be available.

Registration for this program is requested. Please contact the main desk to sign up, or use the form below:

Charles L. Byler

Saturday, February. 10, 2017
1:00 p.m.

Join Charles L. Byler, Air Force Veteran and author, for a discussion about his book Tempered Steel: The Three Wars of Triple Air Force Cross Winner Jim Kasler.

A veteran of air combat during World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, Colonel James H. Kasler served as an eighteen-year-old tail gunner in a B-29, flying bombing missions over Japan, became a legendary jet ace in Korea, and was so famous in Vietnam that he was known by name in the White House. He is the only three-time recipient of the Air Force Cross, the Air Force’s second highest award for wartime valor.

Kasler planned and led the most effective bombing mission of the Vietnam War. He was shot down and had to endure six and a half years of torture in a POW camp. His courage under those brutal conditions earned him the respect of such men as John McCain and James Stockdale. This book captures the essence of a genuine American hero who fought in three wars and traces the history of the U.S. Air Force during its formative period.


Previous speakers:


Doug and Liz Graybill are veterans and serve as director and co-director for the Veterans Making a Difference program, founded to help homeless veterans and veterans in need. They recently announced the grand opening of a Veterans Social Center on the first floor of the Hope Rescue Mission in Reading where veterans can gather to talk, enjoy a meal, socialize, use the computer room, laundry and shower facilities and have access to visiting doctors. For more information, see https://www.facebook.com/Veterans-Making-A-Difference-969642126402894/

Kutztown University History professor Michael Gambone will discuss his soon to be published book, Long Journeys Home: American Veterans of WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Please join us to hear him speak of his experiences.

Robert Orzechowski is a decorated combat veteran. He served in Vietnam with the U.S. Marine Corps for twenty-six months, receiving an honorable discharge. He is a Life Member of the Marine Corps League.

Please join us as we welcome Lawrence O'Rourke as our special guest speaker. Mr. O'Rourke was recruited in 1943 to work on the top secret Manhattan Project to develop the first atomic bomb.

Jim Johnson served in the Army during the occupation after World War II. After he finished his first tour of duty, Johnson came home and returned to college. Shortly after arriving home, Johnson was called to serve in the Korean War where he was assigned to a station in Greece working as a cryptographer.

Registration for this program is requested.

Bob Button served in all four military branches, beginning at age 16 with the U.S. Navy during World War II. A Purple Heart Army veteran of the Korean War, he fought at the battles of Pork Chop Hill and Heartbreak Ridge. As a Marine sergeant during Vietnam, Button taught close combat and long-range patrolling, earning Leatherneck magazine’s USMC instructor of the year award in 1957. He returned to the Army and retired in 1969 as an Infantry sergeant major. As an aviator in his Seventies, Button flew Search and Rescue missions for the U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary for ten years.

In 1960, Mr. Button joined the National Aeronautics and Space Administration as a public affairs officer during the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo man-in-space programs. Mr. Button’s aviation and space stories turned up in a dozen national and international aerospace publications; more recently, Bob collaborated with Jay Barbree of NBC-TV in 2014 to publish the best-selling biography, Neil Armstrong, a Life of Flight (St. Martin’s Press).

Join us in welcoming author Jill Bateman to our Speaker Series. Her book, Flying Forts and Tall Dutch Tulips: A Year at War chronicles the experiences her father had as a bomber pilot and prisoner of war in WWII. All ages are welcome to attend. Books will be available for sale and signing.

Mr. Piotrowicz served in the US Navy from 1953 to 1958. He will talk about his experiences as a "tin can" sailor on the USS McNair, a destroyer that was part of the 7th Fleet during the Korean Conflict, and later joined the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean during the Suez Canal crisis of 1957.

Veteran Ken Fidler was a Sonarman, Third Class, who pinged for enemy submarines during World War II. Ken is the author of the book Memoirs of a Ping Jockey.

Mr. Deibert is a retired Lieutenant Colonel, US Air Force Reserve. Michael will share stories of his family's six generations of military service, from the American Revolution to Desert Storm.

Join us to hear the tales of Veteran Billy Johnson. Celebrating his 106th birthday this month, Mr. Johnson will talk about the challenges he faced as a Procurement Officer during World War II.

Join us as we welcome Mahlon Fink, combat-wounded U.S. Marine veteran, to speak about his experiences landing on Red Beach Number 1 on Iwo Jima as part of the 31st Replacement Draft. All ages are encouraged to attend.

Join us as we welcome veteran Dr. Peter T. Pugliese to speak about his experiences serving in two wars. Author of The Cookie Doctor, Dr. Pugliese is sure to inform, entertain, and educate his audience. All ages are encouraged to attend.

Ken Schaeffer served in the 10th Mechanized Infantry Regiment of the 4th Armored Division as a Staff Sergeant and squad leader during World War II. During the Arracourt campaign, Ken’s forward outpost was overrun by a German Panzer Division, and he was taken prisoner. Staff Sergeant Schaeffer was interrogated and shipped to Stalag IIIC where he was imprisoned for three months until Russian troops advanced on the camp. In the ensuing confusion, under attack from the Russians, Ken escaped. He was promoted to Technical Sergeant First Class and completed his military service at Camp Croft in South Carolina.

Bob Huber was a Staff Sergeant in the 415th Regiment of the 104th Infantry Division during World War II. Bob spent 34 months in a machine gun unit, and he was one of the few men in his company to make it through the war without sustaining a major injury. When the war ended on May 8, 1945, his unit had spent 195 consecutive days in combat on the front lines in Europe. Bob has compiled an extensive history of his World War II experiences and he shares his knowledge with churches, schools, and senior citizen groups.

Bert Winzer was a member of the famed Devil's Brigade in World War II, the first Special Service Force, an elite joint American-Canadian parachute commando unit. When the force disbanded, Bert was assigned to the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division at the Battle of the Bulge. He holds a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star, and was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

For more information, see: winzer_bertram_s_oct-15.pdf