Community Service


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Community Service

The motto of the Nittany Leathernecks Detachment is"Valiant service is not limited to combat." The detachment is first and foremost a community service organization. Prospective members should understand that and be willing to support that ideology. That is not to say there is not a social commitment, because there is. Much of the social nourishment occurs in the course of working together to achieve community betterment. But we do, in fact, hold family picnics and other events that contribute to a special camaraderie.

Community Service - Centre County Scouting Awards

(Click on any of the image thumbs below for a larger image)

pencil Boy Scout Eagle Scouts and Girl Scout Gold Awards

scout awardsscout awardees

The Nittany Leathernecks appreciate the value and leadership the Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts bring to our nation.  The future of this country rests with our youth.  It is only appropriate, therefore, that significant achievements such as the awarding of Eagle Scout status and achieving the Gold Award be recognized.  In honor of the occasion, the Detachment provides a Good Citizenship Certificate.


Troop Request - To initiate recognition by the detachment, the supporting Centre County Juniata Council Boy Scout Troop or Centre County Girl Scout Troop should submit a request in writing to the detachment. This link provides guidance and instruction and a sample letter format.

2018 Girl Scout Gold Awardees
girl scouts

On February 18, 2018 Commandant Terrie Henrickson presented Ka-Bars to Girl Scouts Nicole Pandolfi, Megan Petrine, and Ann Sepich for earning their Gold Awards

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2020-2021 Officers (Jr. Vice Commandant of PA Diana Henry, Dept. of PA Commandant Robert Ziltz, Nittany Leathernecks Commandant Mike Connelly)



Members of Det 302 participate each year in Special Olympic events.

Captions (left to right: Officials, Bob measures for the javalon toss, javalons handed out, Glenn retrieving a javalon) The mission of Special Olympics PA is to provide year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community. The athletes of Special Olympics -- nearly 20,000 strong here in Pennsylvania -- are constant reminders of all that is right with the human spirit.

 Community Services--Colonel Gerald Russell--PNC Bank--Day of Caring Project

cleaning warehousecleaning crew


The traditional project is the cleaning and organizing of the Special Olympics Pennsylvania storage locker in Bellefonte.  The detachment point of contact is Adjutant Diane Grieb.

Previous/Other Detachment Day of Caring Projects

breakfastPrevious projects included the restocking of food at the State College Food Bank. The detachment has painted the facility and also added a basement stairwell covering.



Memorial Day - Bellfonte, PA

honor guardGuardhonor guard

2019 Memorial Day Honor Guard in Bellefonte and Boalsburg (right) PA

2019 Relay for Life

Marine Honor Guard

Community Services - Spring Creek Memorial Day Flag Placement

flag placersEach Spring during May, the detachment gathers on a Saturday morning prior to Memorial Day at the Spring Creek Cemetery (in College Township) to place American flags at the grave sites of U.S. Armed Forces veterans buried there. Spring Creek Cemetery is located on Country Club Road which is just off Branch Road. Coming from the north you can reach the cemetery by driving through Lemont. From the south, you can reach it by turning north onto Branch Avenue at the Hills Plaza intersection of Atherton and Branch. The cemetery is across the street from the Centre Hill Country Club. The effort is coordinated through the Centre County Veterans Office in Bellefonte. [Pictured from left to right:  Denny Nau, Marty Kaschalk Bob Johnson, Lois Moyer, Caleb Stoner, Karen Johnson, Diane Grieb, Gene Weller, Lee Shields, and Thomas Stoner placed flags on the graves of veterans at the Spring Creek Cemetery on May 19, 2018]

Colonel Gerald F. Russell Scholarship Fund

pencil Scholarship 

Community involvement... Includes supporting the education of our youth as well as adults seeking self-improvement to better serve in their community.

The Russell Scholarship Fund was established during 2006 by the Nittany Leathernecks to honor Colonel Gerald F. Russell, USMC (Ret), a patriot, humanitarian and combat veteran of Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Korea and the Cuban Missile Crisis. The fund was unveiled at a surprise 90th birthday party put on for Colonel Russell by friends throughout Centre County. Colonel Russell was a tireless community volunteer leader. He is known throughout Centre County (and beyond) for his various efforts which include the Pennsylvania Special Olympics, Centre County Toys for Tots, United Way Day of Caring, and many other programs that benefit the community. Having witnessed the tragedy of war first-hand, this fund, which is administered by the Centre County Foundation, held special meaning to Colonel Russell, especially relative to its support of eligible dependents of local veterans and (most especially) the children of local Armed Forces Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guard who have served their country with honor.
The qualifications for the Colonel Gerald F. Russell Scholarship are as follow:

  • Applicant must be a graduating senior from a Centre County school district, including St. Joseph Catholic Academy
  • Applicant must be the child or grandchild of a United States military veteran or a brother or sister of a United States military veteran
  • Applicant must have demonstrated leadership in community, school, and/or religious activities
  • Applicant must show strong academic achievements and preferably have a GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Preference will be given to applicant exhibiting financial need

Additional Questions:

  • Students will be asked to share their military affiliation, including family member and branch of the US military served.
  • Students will be asked to submit a short essay describing their leadership roles, future career plans, and how the scholarship will help them achieve those plans. 
  • Students will be asked to include a letter of reference.

Most of the qualifications are covered through student answers to a general application that they must fill out.  Those students whose answers match the qualifications are invited to apply for the scholarship.  Then they are asked the additional questions.

Follow this link for more information about Centre Foundation or follow this link for Colonel Gerald F. Russell Scholarship Fund application information.

Scholarship Recipients


Founders Circle
Individuals contributing a minimum of $250 will be designated Founder's Circle (FC) members. FC's will receive a detailed annual report and are also noted in the position of honor below.

Martha Adams, Deborah Baier, Pete Banholzer, Richard & Julia Bartolomea, William & Michele Bartolomea, John & Ellie Beaver, Philip & Kathleen Bosak, Kevin & Suzanne Cheeseborough, Diane Conrad, John & Barbara Coyle, Rich & Janet DiEugenio, Della Durant, Mimi Coppersmith Fredman, Ed & Charlene Friedman, Blake & Linda Gall, Jacob & Kim Graham, Robert & Jerah Griggs, Dan & Suzi Hawbaker, John Infield, Gregory & Madeline Johnson, Robert & Karen Johnson, Martin & Judy Kaschalk, Kevin & Maura Lennon, Michael & Ann Lescanic, Fred & Louise Leoniak, Gerald Lyons, Al & Sharon Matyasovsky, Andrew & Ellen Mazzara, Ryan & Denise McCombie, Dan & Eileen Moser, Glenn & Lois Moyer, Thomas & Deborah Murray, Allen & Kimberly Neely, Brent & Cynthia Pasquinelli, Joseph & Sue Paterno, James Pritzker, James & Barbara Purdum, Chuck Rider, Mark & Pam Righter, Gerald Russell, James & Hope Scannell, Robert Scannell, Robert & Regia Scannell, Tim & Briget Scannell, Lee & Carol Shields, Lance & Ellen Shaner, Lawrence & Molly Snavely, Charles & Donna Snyder, Karl Stoedefalke, Richard & Diana Tilghman, Andrew J.Visnovsky, C.J. & Susan Wagner, David & Betsy Will

Corporate Member
Corporate members are noted for contributions totaling $1000 or more. Corporate members can gain incremental "Corporate Battalion" and "Corporate Regimental" award status through contributions totaling $5000 and $10,000 respectively. Russell Scholarship Fund Corporate members include:


Deer Country Farm & Lawn, Inc. (Lancaster, PA); Sovereign Bank of State College
Corporate Regimental
Corporate Brigade

Association Member
Association members are non-profit fraternal and professional organizations noted for contributions totaling $1000 or more. Association members can gain incremental "Association Platoon" and "Association Battalion" award status through contributions totaling $3000 and $5000 respectively. Russell Scholarship Association members include:


Viet Nam Vets M/C (Central, PA); PA State Corrections Officers Association; Bellefonte, PA Elks (Garver Fund); Nittany Leathernecks

Association Platoon

Viet Nam Vets (Chapter T)

Association Battalion

Tussey Mountainback 50-Mile Relay & Ultra Marathon Committee

Colonel Gerald F. Russell Leadership Award

Each year the detachment sponsors a leadership award on behalf of Penn State University's Naval ROTC unit. The Colonel Gerald F. Russell Leadership Award is presented to the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program (MECEP) or Marine Option NROTC student who best exhibits outstanding leadership and community service qualities, as determined by Penn State University's NROTC command element. The award consists of a special certificate, professional books, and an officer's jewelry box containing second lieutenant paraphernalia.

This award is named in honor of detachment member Gerald F. Russell, a combat veteran of World War II who served at both Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima. Colonel Russell also commanded a combat battalion in Korea and a regiment at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Following his distinguished Marine Corps career, Colonel Russell served The Pennsylvania State University as an assistant vice provost within the College of Education. In retirement, Colonel Russell continues to serve his country through both random and selective acts of community service. A highly recognized community volunteer, Colonel Russell continues to provide daily inspiration and leadership throughout his community -- and beyond. Colonel Russell epitomizes the highest qualities and virtues of the citizen warrior.

Past Award Recipients:

2011- MIDN Justin Burdette
2010- MIDN Giovanni Ferro
2009- MIDN Anne Neuhaus
2008- Midshipman Brett M. McCormick
2007- Midshipman Nicholas Sackie
2006- Sergeant Craig A. Thompson, USMC
2005- Midshipman Paige Stull
2004- Midshipman Megan Burlingham
2003- Midshipman Thomas W. Carey
2002- Sergeant Lonie S. Christian, Jr., USMC
2001- Sergeant Jeffrey A. Compton, USMC
2000- Staff Sergeant Jason D. Franz, USMC
1999- Sergeant Erik V. Orient, USMC
1998- Sergeant Christopher Knarr, USMC
1997- Sergeant William H. Grube, USMC
1996- Staff Sergeant Michael D. Dunbar, USMC
1995- Midshipman Raymond P. Ayers III
1994- Sergeant Gregory Marchlinski, USMC

Centre County Veteran Outreach 

pencil Veterans

Centre County Veteran Outreach (Medical Benefits)

It is important that all veterans register with the VA for health care benefits. Whether you require medical attention or not, this action (registering) provides the numbers Congress and the DoD look at in determining annual funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Nittany Leathernecks are committed to assisting ALL military veterans, regardless of service affiliation. These numbers are what will speak clearly to this nation when budget battle lines are drawn. The PDF link below provides an application form (10-10EZ) you can download. There are also instructions for filling the form out. Once complete, send the application to the James Van Zandt VA Medical Center in Altoona (if you are a Centre County veteran). The address is noted. For all other veterans, contact your local VA office in order to identify the location you need to send your completed form.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has recently discouraged VA Medical Centers from pro-actively registering veterans. So it is up to organizations like the Nittany Leathernecks to get the word out. This is a benefit you EARNED by serving your nation during both times of war and peace. Even if you do not require medical assistance by the VA, you should register. Annual congressional budgets are based on the number of known living veterans. If not for yourself, register so that those who DO need medical assistance now, or in the future, will have that resource available to them.