Submitted by: Michelle Argust
My name is Michelle Argust, and I live in Hometown, Pa. As a child, I had always looked up to my grandfather, Joseph Julius Soika. He was a devote man of faith, adored his family and loved his country. As a child and young adult, I always looked up to him. He served our country during World War II. I would like to share his story with you.
Joseph was born on March 19, 1919 and was raised in the small borough of Freeland, Pa. by Julius and Anna Soika. In February of 1942, he joined the United States Army. He served domestically for over 28 months. During that time, he met my grandmother, Pauline Sholtis. After a few months of courtship, they were married in a small church ceremony on Sunday, October 31, 1943. Growing up, my grandmother always joked that it was the only day they could tie the knot. Unfortunately, their time together was cut short since he had to continue to serve domestically. He was then stationed in Fort Benning, Ga.
Then, in June of 1944, my grandfather was called to action overseas. He served in Northern France, the Rhineland, and the Ardennes in the Seventh Armored Division. He was the recipient of three Bronze Stars and reached the rank of technician 4th Grade.
Sadly, my grandfather passed away in June of 2001, but his memory still lives on in my heart. In his honor of his service, I created and donated several pysanky eggs to the C.H. Berry Post located in Tamaqua, Pa. where my husband is currently a member and I am an auxiliary member. The first was an egg commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the American Legion. I did this because the American Legion was founded a few days before my grandfather’s birthday in 1919 and felt that it would be a wonderful way to honor him and and his service. Thomas Isleib, the commander, asked me to create each branch of the military to be on display for all members to enjoy! They are on display at the post.
* Due to the limited amount of characters, this is an abbreviated version of the original story I was going to send.
Information about how pysanky eggs are created: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pysanka
About the author:
Michelle Argust. I am a teacher in northeastern Pa. I am married to my husband, Bob. We have a son and a daughter. My son is currently a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard. In my free time, I enjoy baking apple pies competitively and pysanky!