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Veterans Honored at St. Bernard

Cutline: Attending the Veterans Day Service at St. Bernard are Headmaster Father Joel Martin, O.S.B.; Command Sergeant John Gissell; Petty Officer 2nd Class Brother Augustine Munkachy; Sergeant Bill Ellis; Lance Corporal Pat Brickman; Corporal Thomas Kielen; Corporal Henry Arndt; Staff Sergeant Kenny Culpepper; Petty Officer 1st Class Larry Walker; School Chaplain Father Linus Klucsarits, O.S.B.; and St. Bernard Prep CEO Jim Miller.

St. Bernard Prep and its monastic community honored veterans in a special Veterans Day Service in the Abbey Church on Nov. 11.

Student Council President Audrey Gil read a scripture passage, then the St. Bernard Concert Band played a medley of patriotic music.

Father Linus Klucsarits, O.S.B., led the assembly in honoring a group of veterans, among whom were four St. Bernard monks. Col. Father Patrick Egan, parish priest of Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Cullman since 2009, served in the United States Army. Sergeant Brother Michael Gregerson was honored for serving in the United State Air Force. Likewise, Specialist Brother Romanus Davit and Petty Officer 2nd Class Brother Augustine Munkachy were both recognized for serving in the United States Army and the United States Navy, respectively.  

Several longtime friends of the monastery were also honored. Veterans of the United States Marines included Sergeant Bill Ellis, Lance Corporal Pat Brickman, Corporal Thomas Kielen, and Corporal Henry Arndt. Staff Sergeant Kenny Culpepper, and Command Sergeant John Gissell served in the United States Army. Petty Officer 1st Class Larry Walker, a veteran of the United States Navy, was also present for the ceremony.

Father Linus related a story about a veteran family member. “I remember introducing my brother to someone and referred to him as a former Marine – and was quickly corrected that a Marine is always a Marine.”

He further recalled a memory of his dad. “My dad died of dementia, and it wasn’t until he was diagnosed with dementia that we learned of benefits available to WWII vets. However, we were unsure of the timeline. After research we found that he took the oath two months before the deadline and was qualified.”

“As we spoke to the representative, I made the comment that he barely made the cut by only two months. He stared me down and said, ‘He took the oath, he served.’”

He concluded by thanking veterans and sharing this quote: “To those who served, freedom has a taste that the protected will never understand.”

Following the service, the St. Bernard Choir sang as the procession headed to the school for the raising of the flag ceremony.