Jul 31, 2023

WWII sailor, 98, is VCI's Veteran of the Year


Ed Wojnaroski (Lifetime Achievement Award) and Harry Muncert (Veteran of the Year) spend some time together during Veteran Community Initiatives’ Salute to Veterans at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown’s Living-Learning Center on Monday, Oct. 10, 2022.

As a child, Harry Muncert often proudly wore the Dixie Cup hat from the Navy uniform that belonged to his father, a World War I veteran.

“I was destined to be a sailor,” Muncert affectionately said.

Muncert eventually joined the Navy, beginning in 1943 when World War II was raging.

His longtime friend, Ed Wojnaroski, spent time in the Army during the Vietnam War era.

Although their time in the service has long since passed, both remain ardent supporters of the local veteran community.

On Monday, they were honored for their contributions during Veteran Community Initiatives’ Salute to Veterans dinner at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown’s Living-Learning Center.

Muncert was recognized as VCI’s Veteran of the Year.

His work has included involvement with VCI, Sandyvale Memorial Gardens and Conservancy projects, the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Conemaugh Valley Veterans. He has received the Chapel of Four Chaplains honor.

“I enjoy it, and I hope I can keep on going for years to come,” said Muncert, who recently turned 98 years old.

Wojnaroski, a former state representative, received the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award. His contributions include founding Conemaugh Valley Veterans and leading the effort to bring back Johnstown’s Veterans Day Parade.

Wojnaroski recently stepped down from the VCI board after 25 years, most spent as chairman.

“I had a wonderful time. … It’s my time to leave VCI,” Wojnaroski said.

“I think it’s a wonderful thing because I really appreciate all the wonderful people that are in this organization and what they mean to not only themselves, but to the public.”

Two former local congressmen – Mark Critz, a Democrat, and Keith Rothfus, a Republican – paid tribute to local veterans with keynote addresses.

“If we talk about our military, talk about our veterans, it’s usually issues that no matter what part of the political spectrum you’re on, you want to make sure that you’re supporting them,” Critz said.

“That’s really a common denominator Keith and I have.”

Rothfus expressed similar sentiments, saying: “Mostly, when you work veterans issues, you are bipartisan – nonpartisan, even. Everyone recognizes the contributions veterans have made, and there are fine organizations, like VCI here in Johnstown, that are doing the work to fill the gaps that need to be filled.”

Dave Sutor is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 814-532-5056. Follow him on Twitter @Dave_Sutor.

Dave Sutor is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5056. Follow him on Twitter @Dave_Sutor.

Bryce Natta is an Air Force veteran, beloved member of his family, Pittsburgh Penguins fan and business owner who, over the past two-plus years, has been going through serious medical issues that have impacted his health and finances.


Johnstown Magazine is a positive and forward-thinking monthly publication for the people of our region.

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