HUGHESTOWN — The Pittston Area School District honored Vietnam veteran and former state Rep. Tom Tigue on Wednesday by dedicating the flagpole at the district’s primary center in his name.
The pole will eventually stand in what will be called Col. Tom Tigue Heroes Park. Plans for the park are being drawn up, and an announcement will follow next spring.
“Tommy has always been a mainstream in our community, and we’ve been meaning to do something for him for years,” Pittston Area School Board member John Adonizio said. “He’s always been there to help everybody else, and in regards to the events we’ve had at Pittston Area in the past, he’s always there to lend a helping hand.”
Tigue, of Hughestown, served in the U.S. Marines Corps and earned the Silver Star. He also served for 27 years in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves before retiring.
Tigue earned the Silver Star while serving in Vietnam. It is the third-highest military decoration for valor in action against an enemy of the United States.
A graduate of St. John’s High School, Pittston, and King’s College, Tigue’s service doesn’t stop with his military career. He also served on the Pittston Area School Board and was later elected to the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives, serving the 118th Legislative District.
Tigue served in the state House for nearly 26 years before retiring in 2006.
During the ceremony, ground was broken for Heroes Park. The park will be dedicated to all veterans, living or deceased, according to Adonizio.
“It’s an emotional day, and I don’t have the words and I’m so grateful for what they’ve done,” Tigue said. “What’s more important than me is that they (Pittston Area) will be looking at the veterans of the past in this district and that’s the most important thing to remember.
“We’ll get working on Heroes Park and get the people that deserve the recognition, recognized.”
With his family by his side for the ceremony, Tigue, who is battling cancer, heard remarks from his successor, state Rep. Michael Carroll, D-Avoca; Pittston Area School Board member Kent Bratlee and AMVETS Pennsylvania State Representative Bernie McDonald.
The AMVETS performed a 21-gun salute, and Tigue laid a wreath at the base of the flagpole during the ceremony.
Tom Tigue Jr. closed the ceremony by thanking the school board, the school administration, AMVETS, and Marine Corps for participating in the program.
“Two important things that matter to my father: education and the military serving the country,” he said, “and this is a perfect honor for him.”