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Coin commemorates Father Tom's service to God and country

The Scecina Veterans Committee helped design the challenge coin, which will be given to Scecina's veterans and graduating classes. One side pictures Father Tom and is inscribed: "Died in service to God and County. Chaplain Thomas Scecina 1910-1944." The other side, with Scecina's crest, is inscribed with the words: "Go forth to transform the world inspired by the light of Christ."

By Beth Murphy

Scecina Memorial High School has an especially strong link with veterans of the armed services because of the school’s distinct honor of being named after a simple diocesan priest who gave his life in service to his country and his fellow Americans. Veterans Day offers another opportunity to reflect upon Father Tom and the sacrifices of all American veterans.

Father Thomas Scecina served in the U.S. Army as a chaplain during World War II. He survived the Bataan Death March in the Philippines but died while tending to fellow prisoners of war aboard the Japanese POW ship Arisan Maru as it sank. Our school stands in testament to his courage and service.

Scecina’s Class of 2015 recently received a special token they can keep to remember their school’s namesake. Each received a “challenge coin” that commemorates the life of Father Tom. Scecina alumni who are veterans also are receiving this coin. A challenge coin signifies an important accomplishment that is shared among a select group.

Scecina’s Veterans Committee has been busy the past few years with projects at the school, including the commissioning of the bronze bust of Father Tom, now sitting in the school’s rotunda, and also the challenge coins. Three alumni on the committee took a special interest in the Father Tom challenge coin project: Tom Blandford ’65 U.S. Army; Tom Griffin ’62 U.S. Air Force; and Walt Linne ’62 U.S. Air Force (ret.). They wanted Scecina Memorial High School alumni veterans and each graduating class to receive the coin as a keepsake that signifies their unique and important standing as Scecina alumni.

“This coin should be important to any Scecina graduate to serve as a reminder of the values they learned at Scecina and to continue what Father Tom taught us by his life, sacrifices and death,” said Griffin. “As we all know, sometimes a physical memento is needed to remind us of what we hold dear. It is also a way to identify another graduate.”

In a letter to the graduates accompanying the coin, President Joe Therber wrote, “It is my deepest hope that you will indeed ‘Go forth to transform the world inspired by the light of Christ’ ” and that you will remember Father Tom’s sacrifice and service to God and country. I pray that you will remember and honor the sacrifice of our nation’s veterans.”

Perhaps one day Scecina graduates will show these challenge coins to their children and grandchildren and explain how they learned about service and sacrifice in a school named after a simple priest who “gave a little extra” for others and for his country.

3 comments (Add your own)

1. Andy Unsworth wrote:
Good to go o this. How can I get one?

Wed, November 11, 2015 @ 7:32 PM

2. Madonna Pedro Kirby, '62 wrote:
I served in the U. S. Air Force in 1962 and 1963. It is wonderful that you have a Veterans Committee at Scecina. I know many of the alumni have served and some have died defending our country. It will help the students to never forget.

Madonna Kirby

Thu, November 12, 2015 @ 1:57 PM

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