Scecina President Joe Therber received Father Thomas Scecina's award from Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly (right). State Rep. John Bartlett (left) also attended the ceremony, which took place on Nov. 4, 2016.
By Bob Golobish, Vice President of Advancement
Father Thomas J. Scecina was inducted into the Indiana Military Veterans Hall of Fame in a ceremony on Nov. 4. Father Scecina was joined by George N. Craig, the state's 39th governor; Col. Harvey Weir Cook, World War I ace and pioneer in civilian commercial aviation; Charles Williams, the founder of Indiana Black Expo and eight others.
Father Scecina served God and country as a military chaplain during World War II before perishing at sea with other prisoners of war in 1944. Father Scecina was the only archdiocesan priest to give his life for his country in World War II. In 1953, to honor his service to God and country the Archbishop of Indianapolis established the Father Thomas Scecina Memorial High School on the eastside of Indianapolis.
Father Scecina was nominated by Tom Blandford ’65, a former U.S. Army Ranger.
"I attended the first Indiana Military Veterans Hall of Fame event where they installed about a dozen service people," Blandford explained, “and I told the director of the organization afterward that they had really set a high bar. The accomplishments of the people they installed in that hall of fame were just amazing. It occurred to me that I knew an amazing story, Father Tom’s story. I knew he deserved to be in the hall of fame and I’m so glad he got there.”
On behalf of Father Scecina, President Joe Therber received a framed certificate and medallion from U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly.
“Receiving Father Tom’s awards while representing the school community that bears the Scecina name was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said President Therber. “The story of Father Tom’s faith and unselfishness in the face of unspeakable horror truly captivated the audience at the ceremony. If we choose to imitate him in our daily lives, charity will multiply and our world will never be the same.”
The master of ceremonies for the evening was Rafael Sanchez, reporter/anchor at WRTV 6 in Indianapolis. Sanchez was moved by the combat heroism and the community service of the Hoosier veterans. He quoted the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others” and asked those attending to accept that challenge to do more to help others.
Over 250 people heard the stories of heroism and community service and watched induction of the 12 members of the class of 2016.
Sister Shelia Hacket OP., Scecina’s librarian, attended the ceremony. It was “very humbling to hear the stories of the veterans," she said. "Their stories were real, very real.” Tom Blandford ’65 and Ann, his wife, were present, as were Tom Griffin ’62, a veteran of the US Air Force, Angie Therber ’84 and Bob Golobish, Scecina’s vice president of advancement.
The Indiana Military Hall of Fame, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization. Its objective is to publicly recognize the honor brought to the state and nation by the sacrifice of Indiana military veteran and their families. Each year up to 15 veterans are inducted into the Indiana Military Hall of Fame and awarded the “Hall of Fame Medallion.”
The Indiana Military Hall of Fame ceremony took place in the ballroom of The Garrison Restaurant at Fort Harrison State Park.