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Veterans Day for Local Nurses

And in honor of Veterans Day. Tonight we’re recognizing a special group of women who served during the Vietnam War as nurses.

Nicole Fuschino shares their story.

Back in 1968 15 nurses who graduated from a nursing school in Johnstown went to serve in the military.

Today they proudly call themselves Veterans.

I spoke with one of them this evening.

This is Beverly Hornyak.

She’s one of 15 nurses who graduated from Mercy Hospital’s school of nursing class of 1969 in Johnstown and served in the military during the Vietnam War.

4 Of them were assigned to Vietnam.

“Those of us who signed up, we had stars in our eyes, and we were very idolistic about what we could do. We wanted to do something for the country. We felt like we were helping.”

She was 20 years old and off to basic training at Fort Sam Houston in Texas.

And then was assigned to a specialized treatment center in Georgia.

During her two years there she cared for those who were injured in Vietnam.

“Besides the medical aspect, I mean you’re caring for injuries and wounds, but you’re also holding hands of kids who are not at home. They’re at places very far from their homes, and they’ve gone through terrible terrible experiences that they can’t even talk about. Just to know that somebody’s near, somebody’s listening.”

Beverly says it was a learning experience for her and her nursing school friends who were by her side.

All playing a huge role as women in the war.

“It doesn’t matter in what role you’re playing, if you’re doing something to help the country, to help the people, women need to be recognized.”

She says looking back it was all about patriotism and love of country that she’s carried on to this day.

“It instills in you a love of your country and of these men and women who go off and risk their lives to preserve our right to vote, to preserve the democracy we live in.”

And Veteran’s day is a reminder not to take them for granted.

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