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Scholarship memorializes veteran

$40,000 available to children, grandchildren of wounded warriors

The Military Order of Purple Hearts Chapter 606, working with the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley, has established the Purple Heart Gary Gutelius Memorial Scholarship Fund to remember Gutelius. From left, are Herm Breuer, director of the Trumbull County Veterans Services Commission; Rachael Chacon, development and marketing director for the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley; and Leo Connelly Jr. of the Military Order of Purple Hearts Chapter 606.

WARREN — The Military Order of Purple Hearts Chapter 606, working with the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley, has established a special scholarship in memory of local veteran Gary Gutelius, who died Feb. 12 on his 74th birthday.

Herm Breuer, director of the Trumbull County Veterans Service Commission, said the Purple Heart Gary Gutelius Memorial Scholarship Fund has been officially launched to remember Gutelius. The scholarship now is worth $40,000.

“Gary was a part of many different veterans’ organizations but he always had a soft spot for the Purple Heart organizations,” Breuer said.

Leo Connelly Jr., of Boardman, a member of the Military Order of Purple Hearts Chapter 606, came up with the idea of having a scholarship. “Gary was very excited with the idea of a scholarship and we want to name it in his memory,” Breuer said.

The scholarship will be presented to the children, stepchildren or the grandchildren of a Purple Heart recipient who are attending college in Ohio or who are in any other training or apprenticeship programs for various career preparation. Breuer said details of how much the scholarships will be still is being decided.

“We are here to help people. The only requirement Chapter 606 is going to ask for is that the person completes what they are doing. We want to help individuals along their journey. Not everyone attends college, which is very understandable,” Connelly said.

He said Gutelius was “probably the most soft-hearted guy you would want to know.”

“He was the kind of guy who would go over and do what needs to be done and not tell anyone that he did it. He automatically would go and do something and he loved people. When he was in pain, he would make you smile,” Connelly said.

Breuer said Gutelius would dress up as the Easter Bunny at the VFW, which made it special for the children.

He said the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley is assisting with money for the scholarship. The foundation will manage the fund and assist veterans in reviewing applicants for the scholarship.

Rachael Chacon, development and marketing director of the foundation, said it often works with an organization or charity in setting up scholarships and funds.

Gutelius was drafted in 1967 to the United States Army and served with the 101st Airborne Division during the Vietnam War. He was wounded at the Battle of Hamburger Hill, a 10-day battle fought during the three-phased Operation Apache Snow, which was a campaign to destroy the North Vietnamese Army bases in the A Shau Valley. He received a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for his service.

Gutelius belonged to many different veteran organizations, including being a lifetime member of: D.A.V. Chapter 11, the VFW Post 1090, the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 606, where he served as Senior Vice Commander, the Vietnam Veterans of America, the American Legion Post 540 and the Amvets Post 290.

Gutelius headed up the Veterans Day and Memorial Day committees for Trumbull County, as well as organized volunteers every year to decorate veterans’ graves for Memorial Day. In 2018, he had the honor of placing a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery on the 100th anniversary of Veterans Day.

bcoupland@tribtoday.com

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