McDONALD - When she was 6 years old, Dixie Lee Kosovec of McDonald had the unique honor of having a World War II B-17 bomber plane, which flew over Europe, named after her. It was called the "Dixie Lee."
Kosovec's uncle, Sgt. Andrew Bugzavich, who had lived in Warren, served during World War II and flew in the plane.
Kosovec, who was then Dixie Lee Winkle, was only 6 when World War II started. The curly, blonde-haired girl was living with her aunt Anne and grandparents, Peter and Mary in Warren.
Her three uncles, Andy, Joe and Alex Bugzavich, who she knew as a child, all enlisted in the military.
Andy Bugzavich was a sergeant stationed with the 8th Army Air Force in England. He was a crew member on a new B-17G bomber. After three missions, the bomber was shot down over France.
Kosovec said the planes needed names, so each member of the squad put some names into a hat, and her name was the one that was drawn.
"My grandmother told me that my uncle had submitted my name which was drawn out of a hat for the naming of the plane," Kosovec said.
She said looking back she felt it was a honor to have a plane christened in her name.
The B-17 participated in missions over France when her uncle was stationed in England.
"It was the luck of the draw that my named was pulled. It is such an honor,'' she said of the drawing that took place in 1942. She admits when she was a child she wasn't quite sure what the honor meant.
She said the plane only a flew a few missions when it was shot down over France.
For his service in the Army Sir Corps, Bugzavich received the Distinguished Unit Blade with a First Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, three Overseas Bars and the European African Middle Eastern ribbon with three Bronze Battle Stars.
Kosovec said Bugzavich died at 86 after he was brutally beaten by two men in a robbery attempt on Comstock Street in Warren. He died from head injuries a month later in December 2006. The attackers were never caught.
Kosovec's neighbor, Diz Dean, said he has found it unique that his neighbor had a WWII plane named after her.
"She is very modest, but this to me is worth sharing,"Dean said,
Kosovec said one of her grandchildren, Kyle Joynes, took the information to school, and one of the teachers was able to find information on the Internet for the entire class to enjoy.