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Pitt Student-Athletes Show Gratitude for Veterans

Army veteran, Edward Leudke pictured with sophomore volleyball player Cassandra Congemi and junior soccer player Danielle Benner.

Army veteran, Edward Leudke pictured with sophomore volleyball player Cassandra Congemi and junior soccer player Danielle Benner.

Nov. 14, 2012

PITTSBURGH - University of Pittsburgh student-athletes honored Veteran’s Day in a special way on Tuesday, Nov. 13 by visiting the VA Pittsburgh Hospital as part of the Cathy and John H. Pelusi Family Life Skills Program.  

Life Skills Coordinator Austin Ransom led a group of student-athletes as they celebrated with veterans in Hero’s Hall at a social gathering and thanking them for their service.  The student-athletes visited patients’ rooms, reading letters written by local elementary schools students and conversing with the hospitalized heroes. 

 “Pittsburgh has been very good to me.  I am a Pitt Panthers fan now and forever,” said Portland, Maine native Edward Leudke , U.S. Army (1968-78), after hearing the letters with tears in his eyes.   

 Pitt student-athletes also felt the influence of the holiday after hearing the veteran’s stories of strength and will.

 “Everyone kept saying how nice it was for us to be there and what an impact we had on the veterans, but I don't think they will ever realize the impact they made on me today, “ said junior soccer player Danielle Benner. “To be face- to- face with men who put their lives on the line for our country and to be able to thank them was an amazing feeling. With my younger brother now enlisted in the Army, reality hits a lot harder to all of the things these men and women have given up for us. I hope to have many more visits to Veterans Hospital.”