For the past 5 years the Reading United A.C. has presented its Community Tribute to Service Members by hosting Hometown Heroes at the Don Thomas Stadium in Exeter Township. Unlike past years, this year’s event took place on Sunday, September 11th to not only honor local heroes but those who lost their lives in the World Trade Center, Pentagon and Shanksville.
Two charity Soccer games were played competing against the Reading United Fun League all to raise funds for The Exeter Township Fire Department and Law Enforcement United Pennsylvania. Game one featured the Exeter Township Fire Department and game two was played by local law enforcement from various Berks County Departments. Opening ceremonies began with a Bagpipe performance by Roderick Nevin, Star-Spangled Banner performed by the Fleetwood High School Chorus Group and Coin Toss by Pennsylvania Representative David Maloney (130th).
Between the two games the first Community Hero Award was presented to Mr. Keith Gaby. Gaby, who suffers from cerebral palsy, was awarded the Community Hero Award for inspiring community members through his demonstration of perseverance and courage.
For the main event, Berks County Law Enforcement took to the field to challenge Reading United Fun League. To honor Berks County’s Hometown Heroes (Officer Scott Wertz, Officer Michael Wise, Deputy Kyle Pagerly, and Chief Warrant Officer Jarett Yoder), several prominent members of the community spoke on the sacrifice firefighters and law enforcement make for the community.
Following the flag ceremony, a special presentation of the Hometown Hero Award was presented from Reading United A.C. and Representatives from A Hero’s Hero to Mr. Johannas Bilstein, a veteran of the Vietnam War.
U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Brian Flannery (82nd Airborne) talks about how the events of September 11th shaped his life.
The night concluded with a fireworks display and a performance by the Reading Buccaneers.
To learn more about the Honored Officers or to Donate:
Officer Scott Wertz Memorial Scholarship Fund